Kenya-born Kettering man shocked by Nairobi terrorist attack

Smoke rises from the Westgate Mall. Large blasts have rocked the mall where a hostage siege is in its third day, with security forces attempting to rescue hostages inside the mall held by al-Qaeda-linked terrorists
Smoke rises from the Westgate Mall. Large blasts have rocked the mall where a hostage siege is in its third day, with security forces attempting to rescue hostages inside the mall held by al-Qaeda-linked terrorists
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A Kettering man has spoken of his shock after learning about the terrorist attacks at a shopping centre in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

Steve Rees and his wife Jenine were born in the east African nation, and still have family and friends there.

They also visit every year, frequently making trips to the district containing Westgate Shopping Mall, where more than 60 people, including four British citizens, are believed to have been killed by militants from al-Shabaab, the Somali cell of al-Qaeda.

An unknown number of hostages are being held inside the mall, with Kenyan security forces working to free them.

“Had we been there on that day we would have been exactly who they were after,” Mr Rees said. “So far we believe everyone we know is OK.

“Myself and my wife were born and raised in Nairobi. My father-in-law lives about 40 minutes away. Our social network is in that Westlands area. Every time we are over there we will go there. It’s very close to us family-wise.

“We go over at least annually. You obviously have to take precautions, but it is safe. The safari and coastal regions are absolutely beautiful. You have to exercise some caution but we wouldn’t think about not going.

“It’s very sad. It’s horrendous. What they have done here is a full on attack, which is shocking.”

Mr Rees said the attacks would also be a big blow to Kenya, adding: “It’s such a shame. Kenya is doing so well. The economy is growing. The Westgate Shopping Mall is a fantastic facility, and compared to bygone years where everything was primitive, it’s indicative of rising prospects.

“It’s very bad for the economy. The main thing is tourism is quickly affected by news like this.”