westgate mall

Documentary “Terror at the Mall” marks first anniversary of Westgate Mall seige

On September 21, 2013, Al-Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-linked Somali militant Islamist group, attacked Nairobi’s Westgate Mall in neighboring Kenya. The siege lasted 49 hours, leaving 71 dead and hundreds wounded. Told using hours of previously unseen CCTV video, extensive frames taken by Reuters Photographer Goran Tomasevic and testimony from survivors and rescuers,Terror at the Mall” recalls the horror of the attack, as well as the courage and resilience of ordinary citizens in the face of mass murder. Marking the first anniversary, the harrowing documentary debuts on HBO in the United States on Monday, September 15 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT) , on BBC2 in the United Kingdom on Wednesday, September 24 (9:00pm-10:00pm GMT) and on CNN on Friday, September 26, at 9 p.m (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT).

“Westgate was one place where you meet people of different cultures, different tribes, different religions, different everything. I think that was the most special thing,” says survivor Jasmine Postwalla. Chaos reigned in the early moments of the siege, with frightened shoppers running for their lives. Harveen Sihra, a 15-year-old girl who was shot in the thigh, stomach and foot, recalls the gunman’s words, “The only thing he said was that we are here to kill. You killed our people in Somalia. We normally don’t kill women and children but you kill ours in Somalia and so we are here to take revenge.”

Forty-five minutes after the attack began, the Kenyan security forces remained outside trying to decide how to proceed. A handful of plainclothes police and civilians decided to act, with Goran Tomasevic in tow. (more…)