Heroes of Nairobi Westgate attack
- 27 September 2013
- From the section Africa
Amid the horrific scenes of the victims of the attack on the Westgate shopping complex in Nairobi, there have also been instances of heroism.
Several stories have emerged of people helping others escape the carnage as the attack raged on Saturday.
Satpal was at Westgate for a business meeting, close to a children's cooking competition going on in the complex's car park.
As gunshots and explosions began to ring out in the complex, Mr Singh ran downstairs to see what he could do to help.
After being shot at by one of the attackers, Mr Singh returned to the top floor, ushering people into the complex's cinema hall and telling a security guard to put the shutters down.
Mr Singh then asked the cinema staff to direct them towards the fire exit, which led back onto the roof terrace.
After barricading the door behind them, Mr Singh made his way back down to the basement with the rest of the group and "started pushing people out through the gate onto the streets very fast".
"Once we got everybody out, the policeman who was with us went towards the basement to see if there was anybody there, or any terrorists, and he got shot in the leg and he dropped his gun so we had to bring him back out," Mr Singh told the BBC.
He asked other armed police officers to go back upstairs with him to help other people escape.
"They didn't help us, so we decided to go up there again by ourselves," Mr Singh said.
"We found people with gunshot wounds - that's why blood is on my shoes. We carried them on our shoulders down the fire escape."
Mr Haji was at a meeting when he received a text from his brother saying that something was happening at Westgate and he was trapped inside.
"It looked like a goodbye message so I immediately made my way there," he told the BBC.
He thought his brother may have been targeted, as his brother and father - Kenyan former Defence Minister Yusuf Haji - had recently received death threats.
After rushing to the Westgate he helped give cover to Red Cross rescuers as they tried to reach injured survivors in a vehicle. The men then made their way to an upstairs parking area where they saw "a lot of dead people".
Mr Haji was in a group of five including three plain-clothes police officers, one of whom had been shot and was holding his stomach.
They entered the mall on the top floor and went from shop to shop.
"We saw some people lying on the floor. We started shouting 'we're police, get out, get out', and we started doing this at every store."
They made their way down to the ground floor, where they engaged the gunmen, receiving backup from two security officials in protective gear and armed with tear gas.
They could see a woman hiding under a table, who said she was with three children. They asked her to tell the older child to run to them.
Mr Haji said he was in the mall for three or four hours, helping people escape from a toilet, a bank and a burger restaurant. His brother also managed to flee.
Mr Singh made reference to a British ex-soldier he spoke to who was also trying to evacuate people from the complex.
And several British newspapers have also spoken of an-ex Royal Marine who was involved in the rescue effort.
Some have published an image of a man escorting two women away from the scene, with what appears to be a gun tucked into the waistband of his jeans.
His face, however, is pixellated as he apparently cannot be named or identified because of security concerns.
Eighteen-year-old Zachary Yach was having lunch with his mother and sister at a burger restaurant in the complex when the attack began.
"A huge explosion really swept us off our feet... So we just dropped to the floor under the table, put our heads down and curled up for a good 20 or 30 minutes," Mr Yach told the BBC's Will Ross.
Once the noise of grenades and gunfire had subsided, "we put our heads up to see what was going on", and saw bodies and two badly injured people, Mr Yach said.
One man had been shot in the arm and "managed to grab a knife and come towards us.
"He cut his T-shirt and tied it around - we helped him and tried to get him to keep pressure on."
He told his mother to play dead "but I kept an eye open to see what was going on and if they [the attackers] were coming into the restaurant".
After about two-and-a-half hours, the police arrived with the army and a gun battle began.
When he saw that a team of security services had entered the restaurant, he "lifted up my hand and whistled to say: 'Come here we need help,'" Mr Yach says.
"I got my mum and sister to go first and then we went back to help the guy with the blood running from his head and the guy with the bullet wound in his arm. All five of us survived."
Policeman rescues family
On Wednesday, footage emerged from the beginning of the attack showing a terrified woman and two young children crouching for safety in the mall.
A policeman appears to be reassuring them for several minutes until eventually persuading them to leave their hiding place.
The group then make a dramatic run to escape the building.