, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22 – As families milled various hospitals and help desks seeking their kin who were caught up in the Westgate mall siege, one woman was telling the harrowing tale of a husband who mysteriously ‘disappeared’ from hospital.
Khadija Mohammed told reporters at the Jamia Mosque that her husband Ali Kiai Gitonga had been admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds on Saturday evening, but when she went to see him on Sunday morning, he could not be traced.
“We spoke at about 2pm (on Saturday) and he told me that he was at the Westgate mall requesting that I send him airtime to his phone and that is when I saw on the television what was going on,” she said.
“I immediately called him and confirmed that he was okay and he would have to put off his phone as they were hiding in the basement but would call me once they get to safety.”
“At about 4.30pm he called and told me that he had been rescued. However a few minutes to 6pm he again called me frantically saying that he had been shot and feared that he may die,” said a tearful Khadija.
“I then tried to call him but his phone was off; I immediately set off to the scene and on my way a doctor called me and confirmed that he had been shot but medics had attended to him and he was out of danger.”
As if in a daze, speaking in the company of mosque officials she said; “When I went to the hospital I saw him and he was okay but a few minutes later, armed police officers came to his hospital room accusing my husband of being a suspect in the attacks.”
Khadija explained that when she went to see Gitonga on Sunday morning, he was not there and staff claimed they had no records of him ever being admitted at the hospital.
President Kenyatta on Sunday afternoon appealed for patience from Kenyans as he vowed that the perpetrators would be punished swiftly and painfully.
The President placed the death toll at 59 with over 200 people injured.