RAJKOT: The terrorist attack at an upscale mall in Nairobi has sent shock waves in Gujarat’s Saurashtra and Kutch. Local officials and community members confirmed that at least seven migrants from the state were killed in the strike, but the number could rise substantially once the hostage crisis is over.
Of the victims, four were women. All of them were from Saurashtra and Kutch.
Sources said many people were being held hostage in the mall by terrorists on Sunday. Dinesh Vaghjiani (29) originally from Sukhpar village near Bhuj, was inside the mall during the attack and managed to escape. He said, “There are many Gujaratis trapped inside the mall. About 7,000 people visit the mall every weekend.”
Among the victims was Mitul Shah whose family migrated from Jamnagar and runs an oil exporting firm in Kenya. By late evening sources confirmed the death of Rajen Solanki and Anuj Shah.
In Rajkot, the Vaya family lost two of its daughters-in-law – Jyoti Vaya (35) and Malti Vaya (33). They had gone to the mall on Saturday to attend a children’s activity when they were killed. Other members of the family managed to escape.
The two were married to brothers Dharmesh, a bank manager, and Ramesh, who was employed at a provision store. “We can’t sleep after getting a call from our relatives in Nairobi,” said Hemant Vaya, a jeweller in Rajkot who is the uncle of Dharmesh and Ramesh. “We are feeling helpless and constantly watching TV for updates,” he said.
In Jamnagar, tragedy befell Narandas Mashroo and his family who lost their 16-year-old granddaughter Neha in the shootout.
Nehal Vekaria (17) of Naranpar village near Bhuj was also killed in the attack. “Like every Saturday, she had gone to participate in a cooking competition at the mall when the terrorists attacked,” said her distraught grandfather Vaghjibhai Vekaria.