Crime

Umar Ahmed ‘Played Dead’ To Survive Terrorist Attack in Kenya Mall, Standoff Continues

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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An 18-year-old man claims he “played dead” in order to survive the terrorist attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday.

Dozens of people are being held hostage at the upscale Westgate Mall in the Kenyan capital by an al-Qaeda-linked Somali militant group al-Shabab. At least 59 people are dead and 175 have been injured, Fox News reported.

What began as a leisurely Saturday for Umar Ahmed turned deadly while he was in parking lot.

"I was at Westgate Mall rooftop at the parking, and all of sudden I heard screams and gunshots all over the place,” Ahmed told ABC. "I got scared. I tried to run down the stairs and saw someone running towards the top, I ran back and hid behind one of the cars.”

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He sprawled on the ground and played dead. He says he saw a gunman approach and look at him.

"Thankfully he turned back," he said. "After a while, the police came and we were able to be evacuated."

Ahmed is now hospitalized at MP Shah Hospital for burns to his hands and chest. Manoj Shah, the hospital’s chairman, said 19 people, including four children, had died there after being admitted.

There are 50 to 200 hostages still inside the mall, Fox News reported. They aren’t being held by the terrorists, rather they are hiding out in various places inside. According to Kenyan media reports, some have managed to escape.

Survivors say they saw people being executed by al-Shabab.

"They spoke something that seemed like Arabic or Somali," one survivor named Jay said. "I saw people being executed after being asked to say something."

Authorities estimated there are 10 to 15 militants inside, and at least one is female.

Early Sunday the former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Oginga said there are “quite a number of people still being held hostage.”

"The gunmen tried to fire at my head but missed. At least 50 people were shot. There are definitely many casualties," said Sudjar Singh, who works in the mall.

"I saw a young boy carried out on a shopping cart, it looked like he was about 5 or 6. It looked like he was gone, he was not moving or making any noise."

"I suddenly heard gunshots and saw everyone running around so we lied down. I saw two people who were lying down and bleeding, I think they were hit by bullets," said Kenneth Kerich, who was shopping when the attack began.

"Initially we thought it is police fighting thugs. But we could not leave until when officers walked in, shot in the air and told us to get out," he said.

Sources: Raw Story, ABC Online, Fox News