, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22 – ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’ is an idiom that rang true in the period following the terror attack at the Westgate Shopping Mall on Saturday.
Foes put their rivalries aside and what would have cleaved them asunder brought them ever closer together.
With one concerted effort, everyone joined hands to give assistance and support to those who were involved with the rescue efforts and even engaged in what many would consider menial work to make those at the scene comfortable.
“Because I can’t shoot using the camera or a gun and I do not like needles to donate blood, I just figured that well, the least I could do is make tea,” said Lydia Kariuki as she served countless officers journalists and other Kenyans who were camped at the scene.
She stated that once she began, it was like a stone starting an avalanche because shortly after that, many people joined her humanitarian cause.
“I have started some sort of a movement because after I made tea suddenly I see people from all over bringing me bread and biscuits and milk and asking what they can do and it is motivating,” she said.
She explained that her motivating factor was the self sacrifice that was being shown by all those who were at the scene and urged Kenyans to come out in large numbers in support of the rescue operation.
“What I would like to tell Kenyans is that come out and help in whatever way you can and if you do not hate needles go and donate blood,” she stated.
Her assistant Joshua Maina stated that the unfolding events were such that no one could afford to be left out. He pointed out that when he heard about the incident, he instinctively asked himself what he would do in such a situation and the idea of serving tea popped into his mind.
“At the end of the day, we just had to come together and do something for this whole situation. None from my family members were inside the mall – I thank God for that – but hey, every Kenyan is family to me,” he stated.
“Those are still my people inside there and I would like to urge everyone to join hands and help out especially in this situation,” he added.
President Uhuru Kenyatta pointed out that there are between 10 and 15 armed terrorists inside the mall but the multi-agency response unit is addressing the situation professionally to contain the criminals and keep people still held in the building safe.
He stated that the Inspector-General of the Police Service, David Kimaiyo, remains in charge of the situation while teams from the Kenya Defence Forces have supplemented the intervention.
The Head of State said the criminals are now all located in one place within the building and assured Kenyans chances are high that the terrorists will successfully be neutralised.
Former Prime Minister Odinga asked Kenyans to desist from propagating hate messages on social media but instead use the technology to boost national cohesion.
In a show of solidarity, African envoys accredited to Kenya attended the State House press conference and affirmed Africa’s support during this difficult time.