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List of victims confirms Nairobi’s cultural mix

Relatives who were looking victims of Saturday’s Westgate Mall terrorist attack converse with City Mortuary officials in Nairobi on Sunday. Photo/JEFF ANGOTE
Relatives who were looking victims of Saturday’s Westgate Mall terrorist attack converse with City Mortuary officials in Nairobi on Sunday. Photo/JEFF ANGOTE 

The list of victims of the Saturday terrorist attack in a Nairobi mall confirmed Kenya’s credentials as a cosmopolitan African city with inhabitants from all parts of the world.

Monday turned out to be a day of action at the scene of the attack with numerous explosions inside the mall followed by heavy smoke that lasted more than three hours.

Here’s a list of some of the victims.

The world has reacted with shock to the ongoing Westgate Mall attack that had by Monday evening claimed the lives of 62 people, according to Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku.

Some of those who died in the ordeal, which began on Saturday afternoon after heavily armed Al-Shabaab militia stormed the building, include notable figures in the business, media and literary worlds.

Diplomats and expatriates from Britain, France, Canada, China, India and South Korea are also among those who met their death at the popular Westlands mall.

KENYA

Peter Ldhituachi Simani, a board director at the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and chairman of the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal, also tragically died at the Westgate Mall.

Mr. Simani, a senior partner at Simani and Associates, was serving a three-year term at the regulator’s board. He was appointed in February 2011. The deceased’s law firm provided consultancy and legal services in criminal, civil, and commercial law.

Prior to his death, Mr. Simani was involved in the ongoing review of the ICT regulatory framework. CCK Board Chairman, Ben Gituku, paid tribute to Mr. Simani.

“Having served with him at the CCK Board, I can confirm that Kenya has lost a brilliant lawyer with an incisive and highly analytical mind,” said Mr. Gituku.

Anuj Shah of Sona Shoppe, a photography studio situated in several Nakumatt branches such as the ill-fated Westlands and Ukay, was also killed during the attack. Mr. Shah was the brother-in-law of Atul Shah, Nakumatt Holdings’ managing director.

Also deceased is Harun Oyieke, a lecturer at Co-operative University College of Kenya, which is based in Karen. He was the husband to Prof. Florence Awino of University of Nairobi’s School of Biological sciences where she is also the deputy director of the Student Welfare Authority (SWA).

Ruhila Adatia-Sood

Ruhila Adatia-Sood, a popular TV and radio personality, was in the rooftop car park of the Westgate shopping centre where she was part of a team hosting a cooking competition for children at the time of the attack.

“Food lover, thrill seeker and a bungee jump away from sanity,” Ruhila Adatia-Sood on Twitter

She was married to Ketan Sood, who worked for USAid in Nairobi, in January 2012 in what has been described as Swahili-themed wedding. She was six months’ pregnant with their first child when she died.

According to reports, Ms Adatia-Sood was rushed to Aga Khan Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Mbugua Mwangi and Rosemary Wahito

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nephew Mbugua Mwangi and his fiancee Rosemary Wahito are among the many Kenyans killed in the attack on the Westgate shopping centre.

According to the Irish Independent newspaper, Mr Mwangi’s mother, Catherine Muigai Mwangi, had recently returned home from Dublin following a six-year posting as Kenya’s ambassador to Ireland.

Mr Kenyatta’s elder sister, Christine Wambui Pratt, had also been at Westgate at the time of the attack, but managed to escape. The family was planning a wedding for the deceased couple.

Mitul Shah

A sales and marketing director of Bidco, a company that primarily makes cooking oil, Mitul Shah was also up in the rooftop car park at the cooking competition.

“He died trying to save stranded children. He died as a hero,” Half Jadhe Half Kyuk wrote on the KenyaList.com message board.

He described Mitual Shah as a “die-hard Manchester United fan”. He was also chairman of Bidco’s football team.

Nehal Vekaria: A 16-year-old student. On Sunday, her family held her funeral where she was cremated.

CANADA

Annemarie Desloges: A 29-year-old Canadian diplomat who served at the country’s high commission in Kenya as a liaison officer with the Canada Border Services Agency.

Her husband, Robert Munk, was injured in the attack but has since been released from hospital, officials said.

Another Canadian was also killed, but has not been named.

GHANA

Kofi Awoonor

The 78-year-old Ghanaian was a renowned poet - regarded as literary royalty at home, where his poetry and novels are considered essential reading at schools. He was in Nairobi as a participant in the Storymoja Hay Festival and was due to perform on Saturday evening.

Ghana’s President John Mahama said he was shocked by such a sad twist of fate.

Mr Awoonor’s son was with him in Nairobi and was shot in the shoulder during the attack.

INDIA

Sridhar Natarajan: The 40-year-old who died in Westgate was working for a pharmaceutical firm in Nairobi, Indian external ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said on Twitter. He was from Tamil Nadu, in southern India.

Paramshu Jain: The eight-year-old son of a branch manager for the Bank of Baroda also tragically died in the mall, Mr Akbaruddin said.

PERU

Juan Jesus Ortiz: A doctor and former deputy head of the Kenyan branch of the UN children’s fund, Juan Jesus Ortiz was at the shopping centre with his 13-year-old daughter Juanita. The 63-year-old died at the scene.

His daughter was shot in the leg and hand and required surgery but is expected to survive, his son, Ricardo Ortiz, told Peru’s RPP radio, the AFP news agency reports.

SOUTH KOREA

Kang Moon-hee: The 38-year-old was fatally wounded from gunshot wounds and shrapnel from a grenade, South Korean’s Yonhap news agency reported.

Sources told the agency she died while being treated at a hospital on Sunday. Her husband, a British citizen, has received surgery for a gunshot wound and is reportedly currently in stable condition. According to AFP, the couple had only recently moved to Nairobi from Dubai.

AUSTRALIA AND HOLLAND

A 33-year-old Dutch woman died at Westgate. According to AFP, quoting Dutch media reports, she had been living in Tanzania and was married to an Australian, who was also killed in the siege.

CHINA

China’s official news agency reported that a 38-year-old Chinese woman had been killed - her teenage son was injured.

FRANCE

A mother and daughter were “executed in the parking lot” of Westgate, a French official said.

SOUTH AFRICA

One national has died at Westgate, officials said.

UK

The Foreign Office said four Britons had died and their next of kin had been informed.

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