NAIROBI - Eighteen-year-old Umar Ahmed was enjoying a relaxed Saturday trip to a Nairobi shopping mall when gunmen stormed in and all hell broke lose.
"I was at Westgate Mall rooftop at the parking, and all of sudden I heard screams and gunshots all over the place," Ahmed recounted.
"I got scared. I tried to run down the stairs and saw someone running towards the top, I ran back and hid behind one of the cars," he said from his hospital bed at MP Shah Hospital, where he is nursing burns to his hands and chest.
Ahmed said he found himself on the ground, playing dead. He said he could see one of the gunmen approach and look at him.
"Thankfully he turned back," he said. "After a while, the police came and we were able to be evacuated."
According to the hospital manager Manoj Shah, more than 100 casualties were brought to his facility alone following the attack on the Westgate mall, which was claimed by Somalia's Al Qaeda-inspired Shebab rebels.
"Our bed capacity is full, we cannot accommodate any other person, we need more supplies and we are appealing to our suppliers and well wishers to come in and help," Shah said.
He said that 11 people have been brought in already dead, and that an appeal for blood donors had been made.
The Red Cross confirmed 30 people had died in the attack.
Helicopters buzzed over the shopping complex as the operation to secure the mall stretched into the night, the large centre empty but for elite police units and troops, the attackers and any remaining shoppers.