NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 15 – Phyllis Ouko had been sitting on a wheelchair outside 14 Riverside Drive for three hours saying a silent prayer for her daughter who was still holed up in one of the buildings following a suspected terror attack when I met her.
The last call she received from her daughter at about 7.30pm Tuesday night went off before they could talk.
But she could remember the three letter word she murmured. “She just said mum…” Ouko told Capital News on Tuesday night.
Initially, all was well until she received the first call from her daughter at about 4.30pm.
“She said there was a shootout; it wasn’t clear what exactly was happening by then,” she said.
“To her, it could have been a gas explosion since there are several eateries within the facility.”
But after making a few calls, she said, her daughter realised it is a more complex situation than she thought.
Her daughter was among tens of people still holed up inside the expansive complex.
“I am here for my daughter. What would another mother do?” She asked.
Powerful gunshots could still be heard at the scene a few minutes after 8.30pm.
By then, a team of foreign special forces had joined their Kenyan counterparts in battling the attackers.
More than four vehicles with red number plates were seen entering the complex, with heavily armed forces carrying sophisticated equipment.
A team of the General Service Unit elite Recce squad took lead of the operation as their counterparts manned the surrounding areas.
Armoured Kenyan police vehicles were also seen inside the compound.
Multiple police sources said there were fatalities following the attack believed to be terror-linked while tens others sustained injuries.
Police managed to rescue hundreds of people working within the expansive complex in a systematic operation.
According to witnesses, majority of whom work within the complex, the incident started at around 4pm.
The attackers shot two students on their way to the complex.
One of the attackers’ vehicles parked beside the gate exploded and as a result two other vehicles caught fire.
One of the attacker’s, armed with grenades proceeded to an eatery within the complex and hurled it.
The numbers of attackers is not yet known although several witnesses say they saw about nine.