'They killed, then paused for a drink': witness recounts mall horror

'They killed, then paused for a drink': witness recounts mall horror
People scramble for safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree at Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi, September 21, 2013.

NAIROBI - Fred Bosire, who works in the meat section of the supermarket at Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, was having an ordinary, busy Saturday before the carnage began.

A staffer at the Nakumatt supermarket located in the back of the complex, he was immediately trapped along with hundreds of colleagues and shoppers when gunmen marched in and raked the supermarket aisles with automatic weapons fire.

"I saw people were falling all around me. People crouched behind the meat counter but I squeezed in and got enough room to lie down, face first," Bosire, 35, said from his hospital bed.

Initially he thought it was a robbery - the kind of thing that residents of the crime-ridden capital are only too familiar with.

"I saw some shoppers still walking around, pushing their shopping carts slowly, trying to figure out what was going on. They, like me, probably thought the gunfire would be short-lived," he said.

The he realised something far more terrifying was going on.

"I didn't think we were the targets, but then I heard the shooters speak. It was hard to make out what they were saying at first because they spoke in a mix of English, Kiswahili and what I think was Arabic. But I knew we were in trouble."

"You have invaded our country, you have raped our women and killed our elderly and it is time we got some retribution," was what he heard.

"I could hear screams, cries for help... they shot those who lay on the ground," Bosire recounted.

He said he heard a woman identify herself and her children as French.

"I knew she had children because they were crying and one of the terrorists told them to shut up. I recall their mother being told: 'You're lucky we don't kill children,' and she was ordered to take her children and run," Bosire told AFP.

He said he then heard another single woman identify herself as French.

"'I have money, take anything you want,' I think I heard her say. But they shot her."

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