Africa

Kenya attack: Who are the Nairobi victims?

Top left: Left: James Oduor. Top centre: Feisal Ahmed Top. Right: Luke Potter. Bottom left: Bernadette Konjalo. Bottom centre: Jason Spindler. Bottom right: Abdalla Dahir Image copyright © Various
Image caption Among the dead are (clockwise from top): James Oduor, Feisal Ahmed, Luke Potter, Abdalla Dahir, Jason Spindler and Bernadette Konjalo

At least 21 people died when Islamist al-Shabab militants stormed a luxury hotel compound in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

A 19-hour siege of the DusitD2 hotel and business complex last Tuesday ended with five attackers "eliminated", President Uhuru Kenyatta said.

Among the victims was someone who had survived the 9/11 terror attacks in the US, a football fan and well-known YouTuber and two inseparable friends.

Here is what what we know so far about them:

James Oduor

Image copyright James Oduor Cobra/Facebook

Dubbed "Odu Cobra" by his friends, James Oduor died on the eve of his birthday and was known for his passion for football.

He loved the grassroots game and set up the YouTube fan site, Wadau TV, a year ago.

He was a university friend of BBC business editor Larry Madowo who tweeted, "He was one of the nicest, happiest people I've ever met. Rest well, Odu, nind maber [Luo for rest in peace]. The world is better because you lived."

According to those sharing tributes to him on a site set up to remember him, he was an ardent supporter of the English premier league side Manchester United and played for a local team.

"Manchester United Kenya will miss a loyal fan. And our football team will miss a leader and a brother. Thanks for all the memories and games we had together. Fare thee well. You will be received well by the legends up there," one person wrote.

He also worked for LG Electronics, which has offices in the Dusit complex.

Tweeting in the wake of the attack, Mr Oduor said that he had heard "gunshots and non-stop explosions" and said that he and his colleagues were trapped.

"Your good spirit will live on in football. You did your part," president of the Football Kenya Federation Nick Mwendwa tweeted after it was announced that he had died in the attack.

Sports journalist Jeff Kinyanjui paid tribute on Twitter, saying "No-one ever defended me the way you did... even when I was clearly on the wrong."

His close friend James Magayi, from the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya, told Citizen TV that he had seen Mr Oduor at a business meeting on Tuesday morning.

"We made some banter about his beard; I remember telling him that he needed to trim it," he said.

A statement released by LG Electronics described him "not just an incredible employee, but a truly inspiring and genuine human being".

Bernadette Konjalo

Image copyright Bernadette Konjalo/Facebook

In the moments after the shooting began at the DusitD2 hotel and business complex, Bernadette Konjalo was helping to guide guests to safety.

Then she, along with some of her hotel colleagues, retreated when they saw the gunmen at the main entrance, but they were not able to outrun or hide from them, Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper reports.

Ms Konjalo had risen through the ranks to become the director of revenue of the DusitD2 having joined the hotel in 2014 as a front office manager.

Tributes have been paid to her on Facebook where one of her last posts was a composite image of herself taking part in the #10YearChallenge - a recent social media trend to post a 2009 photo of yourself next to a recent one, to show how much you've changed in a decade.

Her family, from the western county of Siaya, say the youngest of four siblings was outgoing and supported her relatives financially, including paying school fees for some.

In a Facebook post, Georges Nato commended his friend's bravery: "Bernadette Konjalo you are one tough mama!

"As others ran for safety you encouraged them and showed them the way from behind like a true leader!!!"

Ms Konjalo is one of six staff at Nairobi's DusitD2 hotel who are known to have died following last week's attack.

The others victims were Erickson Mogaka, Trufosa Nyaboke, Dedricks Lemisi, Zackary Nyambwaga and Beatrice Mutua, according to the company.

"Shine on, dear friends", read the hotel's tribute posted to Twitter.

A memorial service is to be held on Wednesday, DusitD2 said.

Jason Spindler

Image copyright Jason Spindler

An American tech CEO who survived 11 September World Trade Centre terror attack in New York in 2001 was among the victims of the hotel attack.

"It is with a heavy heart that I have to report that my brother Jason Spindler passed away this morning during a terror attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Jason was a survivor of 9/11 and a fighter. I am sure he gave them hell!" his brother Jonathan said in a private Facebook post.

Mr Spindler was working for investment bank Salomon Smith Barney in the World Trade Center when his building collapsed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, reports AFP.

That ordeal changed his life, said Mr Spindler's friend and former roommate from the University of Texas.

"Something struck a nerve and changed how he felt and thought about things," Kevin Yu told the Washington Post..

"He just felt like he could be doing so much more."

Mr Spindler became co-founder and CEO of I-Dev International - a company focused on financial innovations to reduce poverty - he was working in Kenya on a mini-power grid project tailored for remote areas.

The I-Dev website goes on to say that he studied business at the University of Texas at Austin, then law at New York University and had served for the US peace Corps in Peru.

In an interview with US broadcaster NBC, his mother Sarah Spindler said that Jason was trying to "make a positive change in the third world in emerging markets".

Feisal Ahmed and Abdalla Dahir

Image copyright Family

Kenyan development consultants Feisal Ahmed, 31, and Abdalla Dahir, 33, who worked for Adam Smith International (ASI), were having lunch together at the Secret Garden restaurant in the grounds of the hotel when the suicide bomber struck.

Friends and relatives described Mr Ahmed and Mr Dahir as inseparable.

"They were close buddies," Mr Ahmed's brother-in-law Abdullahi Keinan told the Reuters news agency.

"They were so close, people said they would die together."

Image copyright Family
Image caption Abdalla Dahir (L) and Feisal Ahmed (R) were said to be inseparable

They had been working for the Somalia Stability Fund managed by ASI to "bring peace and prosperity to Somalia", ASI said on their website.

"He [Ahmed] was an outgoing funny guy, charismatic. He was loved by everybody," said Mohammed Abdilatif, a close friend and colleague told Reuters.

Mr Ahmed's widow is reportedly seven months pregnant.

Mr Dahir's LinkedIn profile says he was passionate about photography and sharing "the stories of vulnerable people especially the voiceless victims of violence in order to educate the world about the detrimental impacts of war".

A joint funeral was held for them on Wednesday.

Luke Potter

Image copyright Gatsby Africa

Briton Luke Potter worked for the charity Gatsby Africa as their Africa programmes director.

He described himself on his company website as loving water-sports, camping, hiking and talking about adventures outside the city. Mr Potter held dual South African nationality and had only recently moved to Nairobi from Britain.

"I strongly believe in the need for societies to offer as equal an opportunity as possible to all, and that, while economic competitiveness is essential to build a country, long-term stability is not achievable unless the gains are widely spread," he said on the website.

Gatsby Africa said in a statement that he had devoted the past 10 years to "helping some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world".

It said he played an "instrumental" role in establishing the organisation's forestry programme in Kenya and provided "crucial leadership, guidance and support" to other programmes in Tanzania and Rwanda.

"He brought a calm head and his unique sense of humour to every situation," the company added.

"We share the grief of his family, partner, daughter and friends."

Jeremiah was not just a leader, he was a brother and a mentor to many. He guided his team with humility and corrected with humor. He loved God and everyone he came across; and always challenged his team to grow.

Tech company Cellulant, described as one of Africa's most innovative start-ups in the world of financial technology, lost six members of staff in the attack:

Jeremiah Mbaria

Image copyright Cellulant

Cellant described Jeremiah Mbaria as a leader, a brother and a mentor to many.

"He guided his team with humility and corrected with humour. He loved God and everyone he came across, and always challenged his team to grow."

He had just taken up a leadership role after his manager left the company late last year.

"He took on the responsibilities of leadership very gracefully and lead by example, working late to help his team meet their deadlines," Cellulant said.

On the day of the attack, he along with Ashford Kuria, were running the team meeting when they heard an explosion.

The two, together with Denis Mwaniki, guided 83 of the 100 colleagues based on the fifth and sixth floor to safety through the building's emergency door.

Kelvin Gitonga

Image copyright Cellulant

Passionate about his job, Kelvin Gitonga believed "technology would change the world", Cellulant said.

It described him as "an intelligent and versatile engineer" with a thirst for knowledge and learning.

He single-handedly overhauled the product's user interface making it easier and more friendly to use, the company said.

Mr Gitonga was also involved in providing support for non-web applications.

After the militants noticed people were escaping through the emergency door the remaining team scattered.

Six sought refuge in a small room underneath the stair cases on the first floor. The other 11 hid in two washrooms on the fifth floor.

Mr Gitonga was among the team hiding in the lower floor.

Ashford Kuria

Image copyright Cellulant

Ashford Kuria is fondly remembered by those at Cellutant as "the ultimate geek".

He had worked on all the company's major products, and was part of the team that built the technology that supports Cellutant services.

He was also described as the company's "unofficial documentarian".

"If you wanted a photo from any event in the past 10 years - Ash would have had it," Cellutant's tribute said.

"His knowledge of everything about everything was hilarious," it added.

"[Ashford] will be remembered best for his big smile, warm personality, his kindness [and] love to everyone - and most importantly his tenacity."

Wilfred Kareithi

Image copyright Cellulant

"Energetic" and "happy" was how Cellulant described Wilfred Kareithi who started as an intern at the company but proved himself to be one of the best engineers.

He "never shied away" from taking on the most challenging of tasks, the firm's statement said.

"He helped unconditionally, and always sought to mentor new staff members and share knowledge."

He had been managing projects in Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Nigeria.

John Ndiritu

Image copyright Cellulant

"Just because it is not my job, doesn't mean I can't do it," John Ndiritu was known to tell colleagues at Cellulant in need of help.

As a quality assurance tester "he was always willing to go the extra mile to help when called upon", the company said in a statement on Twitter.

"Jovial, calm and best-known for his humour", is how they summed up his personality.

He was part of the team members that worked on a mobile banking app for Ecobank, one of the leading banks in Africa.

The team "delivered the app in 86 days, four platforms, four languages in 33 countries in Africa", Cellulant said.

Denis Mwaniki

Image copyright Cellulant

Information security expert Denis Mwaniki was described by his employer as a "curious explorer, strategic thinker, a gentleman and exemplary leader".

Cellulant said it secured coveted information security certification thanks to Mr Mwankiki's "intellect", adding that he would be remembered as "a calm and humble spirit".

He was one of the best IT security experts in Africa, the company said.

His work enabled the company to get certified to operate in almost any market in the world.

Japhet Ndunguja Nuru

Image copyright Japhet Ndunguja Nuru/ Facebook

Twenty-six-year-old Japhet Ndunguja Nuru served as paramilitary police officer.

According to his older sister, he was killed during a gunfight with the militants who broke into the Dusit complex.

Helen Jumapili told the Daily Nation newspaper that she had spoken with her brother before the attack and he had promised to visit her the following day which was his day off.

"I thought he was resting since he had a long night. My parents, however, kept on calling me to know whether he was OK. We confirmed in the evening that he died in the fight," she said.

His sister described him as a hardworking man who next month had been about to start building a home in south-eastern Taita Taveta County, where his family lived.

How the attack unfolded

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