Somali Muslim Saved Expat Family in Mall Attack
A man emerged as a hero in a shooting in Kenya’s Westgate Mall in September 21. The three-day siege left hundreds wounded and 72 dead. Abdul Haji, a Somali Muslim and the son of a former security minister in the Kenyan government, helped rescue some 1,000 people escape including an American expat and her young children.
Katherine Walton was in the mall with her three daughters when gunmen hurled grenades and sprayed bullets indiscriminately. “We were just going to meet my two older boys in the supermarket when we heard an explosion,” Mrs. Walton said. She and her daughters were shielded by a Kenyan woman and two Indian women who hid with them under a table.
Mr. Haji rushed to the mall upon knowing that his brother was trapped inside. Upon noticing Mrs. Walton and the others hiding under a table, Mr. Haji asked if one of the children could run toward him to safety. Four-year-old Portia Walton emerged and ran toward the rescuer. “Amid all this chaos around her, she remained calm, she wasn’t crying and she actually managed to run towards men who were holding guns. I was really touched by this and I thought if such a girl can be so brave... it gave us all courage,” Mr. Haji said.
For more details on the rescue operations in Kenya’s Westgate Mall, click here.