Westgate attackers 'killed, then paused for a drink'
26 September 2013, 17:45
Nairobi - Fred Bosire, who works in the meat section of the
supermarket at Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, was having an ordinary, busy
Saturday before the carnage began.
A staffer at the Nakumatt supermarket located in the back of
the complex, he was immediately trapped along with hundreds of colleagues and
shoppers when gunmen marched in and raked the supermarket aisles with automatic
"I saw people were falling all around me. People
crouched behind the meat counter but I squeezed in and got enough room to lie
down, face first," Bosire, 35, said from his hospital bed.
Initially he thought it was a robbery - the kind of thing
that residents associate with gunshots.
"I saw some shoppers still walking around, pushing
their shopping carts slowly, trying to figure out what was going on. They, like
me, probably thought the gunfire would be short-lived," he said.
Then he realised something far more terrifying was going on.
"I didn't think we were the targets, but then I heard
the shooters speak. It was hard to make out what they were saying at first
because they spoke in a mix of English, Kiswahili and what I think was Arabic.
But I knew we were in trouble."
"You have invaded our country, you have raped our women
and killed our elderly and it is time we got some retribution," was what
"I could hear screams, cries for help... they shot
those who lay on the ground," Bosire recounted.
He said he heard a woman identify herself and her children
"I knew she had children because they were crying and
one of the terrorists told them to shut up. I recall their mother being told:
'You're lucky we don't kill children,' and she was ordered to take her children
and run," Bosire said.
He said he then heard another single woman identify herself
"'I have money, take anything you want,' I think I
heard her say. But they shot her."
Gunmen paused for drinks
Bosire said his meat counter then came under a barrage of
gunfire, and he heard what he described as "the squishy sound of the meat".
He later discovered it was the sound of bullets hitting his legs.
"I only later realised I'd been shot, when I started to
get cold, when I felt the blood seep through my clothes and when I looked down
and saw how the bullets had shredded my trousers. I wanted to cry out, but I
knew I couldn't make a sound, that I couldn't move a muscle."
The gunmen then turned their attention to the bottles of
wine, whisky and beer lined up on the supermarket shelves. Then he said he
"When I woke up it was quiet. My throat was parched. I
ran my tongue over my lower lip and tried to move but my left leg wouldn't
budge. I could feel my phone vibrating - it was my wife, and thinking I was
going to die, I took the risk of picking up," he recalled.
"I remember telling her 'I'm dying, please do not mourn
for me,'" he said. He also asked her not to inform their son of his death
until after the primary school exams were over next month. "I told her not
to call me again, because I was dying."
The gunmen then returned, he said.
"I heard them open what I knew to be the soda fridge
when I heard that spurt of gas that's released when you pry open a soda can or
bottle," Bosire said, catching a partial glimpse of the killers.
"I could see their feet dangling from the deep freezers
when they sat down for what I took to be a break from the killing. There were
five pairs of feet. Their hems and shoes were covered in blood."
One of the gunmen was young, he said, describing the tones
of a slightly "feminine", unbroken voice.
'The wounded were finished off'
"Before long they started to call out: 'If you're still
alive, we'll let you go'. I heard some ladies call out. I wish they hadn't. I
wish they'd held on, because I heard them get shot in cold blood."
After hours on the floor drifting in an out of
consciousness, Bosire heard Kiswahili being spoken and spotted army boots.
"One of the soldiers was saying that he's never seen so
many bodies. He shook my leg to see if I was still alive... I tried to call out
but all that came out was a guttural sound. But it was enough," Bosire
"I don't remember much after that. I remember my leg
sticking to the floor. I remember clutching onto the belt of one of the
officers who got me out, and I remember the faces swimming when we got
Bosire is now in hospital, being treated for
bullet wounds to his legs and knees and trying to come to terms with his
"I know the president said the nightmare is over, but
it isn't for me. I still haven't come to terms with it. It was the worst day of