Local Kenyan Loses Friend in Nairobi Mall Attack

A local student may be thousands of miles away from his home in Kenya, but his family and friends are not. Now he is trying to come to grips with the violence that has happened in his own backyard.
Geoffrey Mwaura is still trying to grasp the violence happening in his country.

“I was still wondering is this real,” said Mwaura.  “I know this stuff happens in Baghdad or Afghanistan.  I didn't expect that to happen in my very own backyard.”

After four days of brazen gunfire and explosions, Kenyan troops say they now control the Westgate Mall where terrorists wounded 175 people and killed at least 62 others.

“Most of us go to school in Nairobi,” said Mwaura.  “That's where the universities are; that's where our friends are, so it's really painful.”

Among the dead is one of Mwaura's best friends who was inside the capitol’s upscale mall when more than a dozen armed men stormed the entrance.

“When I saw his pictures on the CCTV news, I said, 'no, this cannot be',” said Mwaura.  “But then I realized it's true he lost his life.  To anybody who lost a friend, in anyway it's painful.” 

Not only will the attack affect tourism in Nairobi, Mwaura said it will also affect relationships between Muslims and Christians.

“I really doubt how they are going to live together now knowing that Muslims were allowed to walk out in peace and Christians were shot like they didn't have a life,” he said.

Although rebuilding that trust will be an uphill battle, it's something, as a missionary, Mwaura is determined to do when he returns to Kenya in December.

“Now that people can stand in a mall, in a public place and say, 'Muslims get out,' it means for the missionaries we have a big job to do,” Mwaura said.  “I think it should serve as an encouragement to us to go there and work even harder.  So there's a job to do.” 

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