5 Ngee Ann Poly girls were 400m away when Stockholm truck attack occurred

5 Ngee Ann Poly girls were 400m away when Stockholm truck attack occurred
PHOTO: Courtesy of Nuruljannah Mohammad Razib

A 20-year-old Ngee Ann Polytechnic graduate in Europe on a graduation trip with four of her fellow graduates was just 400m away when a truck ploughed through a crowd outside a department store in central Stockholm, killing four people and injuring 15.

Ms Nuruljannah Mohammad Razib was a few blocks away from the corner of the Ahlens department store and popular pedestrian street Drottninggatan when the attack happened on Friday, her father Mr Mohammad Razib, 48, told The Straits Times on Saturday (April 8).

"My wife and I had finished a Facetime chat with her just before the horrific event," he said. Ms Nuruljannah had gone shopping in the area with her friends - all nursing diploma graduates.

"Just a few minutes" after the call, Ms Nuruljannah sent her family the following message at 10.11pm on Friday (April 7): "Something happened near where I was. An accident/attack. A car drove into a shopping mall near the MRT station my friends and I were at. It happened 400m away from us. Now the city area is being evacuated."

Ms Nuruljannah, who is on her way to Finland, told ST via WhatsApp on Saturday that she did not see the actual attack but saw people running away from the site.

"We were shocked and shaken," she said. "We were told to clear out of the area. While walking in the streets we saw soldiers and policmen with guns walking along the streets and also many ambulances."

She and her friends then walked 5km to be picked up by a friend's uncle, who took the girls to his home.

Mr Razib, who runs his own business doing leather crafts, told The Straits Times that he and his family were in constant communication with his daughter via WhatsApp for updates on her safety.

The WhatsApp exchange between nursing graduate Ms Nuruljannah Mohammad Razib and her family. Ms Nuruljannah was 400m away from the truck attack in Stockholm on Friday.Photo: Courtesy of Nuruljannah Mohammad Razib

"For two to three hours this morning, we were waiting in anticipation (to hear) that she and her friends could vacate the affected area," he said.

Ms Nuruljannah and her friends are currently safe, he said, and will continue with their trip to Finland as planned. They have been travelling to various countries in Europe including France, Germany and Italy, and Finland is their last stop before they return to Singapore.

Her father said: "We want to share the importance of constant communication with loved ones abroad, considering threats such as this are rampant."

He said it was a shock to him and his wife, and they were overwhelmed with the "urge and anxiety to know what was going to happen".

"It didn't sink in that it was so serious until this morning, seeing some bodies on the street (on TV)," he said.

When Mr Razib spoke to his daughter, the second of his three children, on the phone after the incident, she sounded relieved, he said.

He said the girls probably registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) before they went on their Europe trip.

He said he will advise his son, who is travelling to Bangkok next week, to e-register with the MFA and keep in contact with the family.

"It is important to know that our own country, our own government has planned education and awareness that while (attacks like) this may not affect us here closely, it is only a matter of time and inevitable," said Mr Razib.

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam had said in March last year that it was a matter of "when" and not "if" a terror attack hits Singapore.

While Mr Razib said he "is glad that she's out of danger", he will not stop his daughter from finishing her holiday by asking her to return to Singapore immediately.

"I think life will have to go on. We can't just be cooped up at home. (Attacks are) happening worldwide, but it is up to us to be careful. Especially when we are abroad, we have to keep an eye out, at what is the state of the country and how they are going to manage situations like this," he said.

Ms Nuruljannah said the experience taught her what to do and not to panic, and to be more aware of her surroundings.

"We may never know when any attack can happen, even in Singapore," she said.


This article was first published on April 08, 2017.
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