NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 15 – “I was shot 15 times; one bullet whizzed past my left eye grazing my skin. Three of the bullets were aimed at my heart but they missed. Another hit me on the back but luckily it failed to hit my spine,” recalls Sergeant Moses Emojong who incredibly escaped death at Westgate a year ago.
At the end of the mayhem, 67 people lay dead, and scores of other suffered life-long wounds, among them Emojong.
Emojong explains that he and fellow officers from the Nairobi West Administration Police headquarters rushed to Westgate after receiving a phone call that there was a robbery in one of the banks.
“It was heading towards noon when we received information that there were robbers at Westgate… the information was scanty. But we organised ourselves very fast and went there. But on arrival, things were different. When we reached the upper parking bay, we found many people dead. We were the first respondents to reach there; what we saw was gruesome. There were dead people all over; both young and the old. That is when we knew something unusual was going on,” Emojong recalls.
“I personally saw a kid who was lying there and was alive, I carried the kid as I ran down from the parking and I handed him over to one of the Red Cross people.”
When he went back, the officers positioned themselves strategically but it didn’t’ take long before the first bullet hit him.
“I just realised I had been shot on my hand and my rifle fell down, so when I was crawling to pick my rifle, I was shot again several times. But God stood with me. After sometime, I realised I was still alive. I tried to raise my head but I wasn’t in a position to do that, so I lay down again. When I wiped sweat from my face, I realised I was bleeding. I had been shot near my left eye.”
He remembers looking left and seeing a colleague lying dead. There was another dead person to his right.
“I tried my best to crawl out slowly. I took sometime before I got out. When I managed to escape, the first person I saw was my boss, I told him, please sir just have this rifle and please get hold of me and put me in the ambulance and take me to hospital.”
He regained consciousness three days later to some voices. “I can now go and rest. This man is now safe.” The voice was that of his doctor. “That is when I realised I had made it out alive.”
He however learnt that his right leg was completely shattered.
“I met God on that day. Trust in God and live in God and you will always see that God will appear and He will always be with you,” he said.
Inspired by the story of Job in the bible, Emojong says; “God stood in the gap. No bullet entered my heart or my spine. There is something special that God has planned for me. I pray every day I would want God to reveal it to me so that I can perform. For this reason, I say I will always fire I will never get tired till I achieve what God wants me to achieve.”
Emojong is a living testimony that many ‘doubting Thomases’ like myself couldn’t believe that he was actually shot 15 times and survived until I saw him and saw the 15 bullet wounds.
He has undergone over 10 surgeries and he is yet to recover fully.
“It’s been very expensive. I went for surgery every two to three days. They (doctors at Aga Khan Hospital) have made me a human being, I had already given up but once I landed at Aga Khan they made me a human being. I have had surgeries on my leg, chest, I had bone grafting… alone I would not have made it,” he says as he also thanked Kenya Red cross for paying his bills and giving him psychosocial support in what he calls ‘living a second life’.
Others who have personally interacted with him describe his survival as a miracle.
Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet is one of the people who are not just walking with Emojong in his journey of recovery but has now become his friend.
“Moses has 15 bullets in the body yet this person is today walking again, it’s just miraculous and we cannot thank God the Almighty better. This is just amazing that he is alive, that is when you realise there is a mighty creator out there. When the hazard comes, you get many bullets on your body but you can still stand up,” Gullet says.
It has been a tough journey of pain and suffering, but also a journey that has completely transformed Emojong and brought him closer to his creator.
Despite the suffering Emojong pledges that the attack will not deter him from his duty of defending Kenya and her people.
For him, joining the security forces was a dream right from his childhood.
“It’s my humble prayer everyday that I get well. I believe God will restore me back to my normal status. Though I will not be exactly the way I was, I will ensure that I will always protect Kenya,” he pledges.
On August 30, almost a year after the attack he went to his home in Teso to celebrate his healing.