, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – A construction worker sits perched on scaffolding as a contingent of journalists, lawyers, officers, suspects and an Acting Chief Magistrate march toward him, the dust rising with every step they take.
They’re on a mission.
A mission to set the scene for the testimony of six who walked these very corridors exactly four months ago and who have so far testified against Mohamed Abdi, Liban Omar, Adan Mohamed and Hussein Mustafah in connection with the Westgate mall terror attack.
“I was standing right here,” Ali Niraj tells Acting Chief Magistrate Daniel Ochenja as he pushes his back against a pillar, “and it was from here that I saw the two men,” he says as he leans over the railing to point at the main pedestrian entrance.
We’re standing outside what used to be the Safaricom shop at the Westgate mall and other than Nakumatt which lies one floor below us, this seems to have been one of the hardest hit areas.
There are no tiles beneath our feet as there has been for the majority of our walk around the mall and the wooden floor boards that are there are littered with torn out insulation material.
The glass that lined the storefront is completely gutted and it’s easy to imagine the gun battle that Niraj narrates as having with not one but four armed terrorists.
“You said you shot one in the leg?” Ochenja asks him and he responds in the affirmative before pointing out the escalators that he says he, together with fellow Constable Wilfred Kavati, kept the two terrorists on the ground floor from coming up on.
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