“Kenya is Shaken to its Core”

September 25, 2013 • Kenya

Please join Samaritan's Purse staff in Kenya in praying after a terrorist attack on a mall in Nairobi stuns the nation

A bloody battle erupted midday Saturday in Nairobi, Kenya, when some 10 to 15 gunmen stormed the upscale Westgate Mall, shooting indiscriminately, according to witness accounts.

The gunmen went from store to store, shooting people, and then grabbed hostages.

Samaritan’s Purse has offices in Nairobi, but by God’s grace none of our staff were in the area at the time when the attack took place. But our hearts are heavy with concern.

“Most people are angry and sad that this happened, and those affected are receiving care in hospitals or grieving,” said Alex Kuria, the Samaritan’s Purse Country Director for Kenya. “It is too early to determine how this will impact Kenya as investigations are still ongoing. But I have been at peace that God is sovereign and confident that as a country we can get through this terrible tragedy.”

READ MORE: A blog from the perspective of one of our staff members who lives in Liberia

A standoff with the terrorists, believed to be members of the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab terror group, lasted four days. Kenyan security forces were finally able to wrestle back control of the facility on Tuesday. But the victory came at a cost.

Addressing the stunned nation, President Uhuru Kenyatta said there were at least 61 civilian deaths, six dead security officers, and some 175 injuries. Sixty-two people remain hospitalized, he said.

The death toll may yet rise. Sixty-five people remain unaccounted for, and Kenyatta said three floors of the mall had collapsed, trapping some bodies.

This recent attack is considered the bloodiest act of terrorism in Kenya since the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.

Kenyatta promised “full accountability” for the “mindless destruction, deaths, pain, loss, and suffering we have all undergone as a national family.”

Details are still being uncovered. We ask that you pray for all those whose lives have been changed forever by this horrible attack.

“I have heard dozens of incredible stories of viciousness, bravery, survival, death, and faith,” said Ken Isaacs, Vice President of International Projects for Samaritan’s Purse. “All Kenyans are affected. Please pray for the country and our staff. Kenya is shaken to its core.”

More