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How Burderi DO Yesse Mule, Immigration official Fredrick Wainaina survived Al Shabaab vicious attack

Monday, August 12, 2013

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“I realised somebody in front was firing at me. I slid, fell and turned back for the dispensary. Wainana followed me fast. And so did the guy skinning the goat. We took cover inside the dispensary, but bullets rained all around us.

“We heard the sounds of assorted weapons — AK-47s, light and heavy firearms that disintegrated the walls. We shifted our defensive positions several times. They would hit one section until it was demolished, so we would move to the next and they would rain bullets on it again until it fell, and we would move to next, and so on and so forth,” said Mule.

Rapid fire

With virtually every part of the building having been blasted by the rapid fire, they ran out of places to hide. So they hid behind a bed and resorted to prayer.

“I told Wainaina to close his eyes and pray…I told him not to open them under any circumstance. I went under a hospital bed; he was lying next to me praying. I was facing the window; he was parallel to the window.”

The gunfire that had been going on all around them for eternity was now closer.

They could clearly hear the militants’ voices, their war and victory cries. But Mule and Wainana continued to pray.

“Then I felt someone violently approach me. He grabbed my hand. It was Wainaina. He was terrified. He told me ‘look at the window, someone is watching us’.

 “I looked. The militants were just metres away from us. A man was aiming his gun at Wainaina. He moved closer to me,” said Mule.

He looked at the hooded mujahideen again and their eyes connected. He shuddered. The end is here, they concluded. They both raised their hands in surrender, begging for their lives.

“Please don’t kill us, please don’t kill us” — that was the only thing that came out of Mule’s mouth at that time.

The rest of the fighters, numbering over 200, gathered around them.   The one who had taken aim at them rushed to the door and grabbed Mule while another fighter grabbed Wainaina. The rest rushed in to search for more people and to loot the dispensary.

“Amazingly, they did not see the guy who was skinning the goat; he had hidden behind a pile of mattresses. I had avoided the blankets because I thought I would not be found if I was shot in them,” said Mule.  Outside, war cries and victory songs rent the humid January night air. The fighters wore jungle green tunics and trousers — similar to those worn by the KDF. Most of them wore open leather shoes.

On their heads, most wore the keffiye, popularised by the late Palestinian Liberation Organisation leader Yasser Arafat. With their magazines and high-caliber guns, they were all armed to the teeth.

Most were young, may be 17 years old. These were the most excited; they kept shooting in the air. They would shoot at the water jerricans and shout “Allahu Akbar (Allah is Great).

“Money, where is money? You have money?” one of them demanded as he searched Mule.  He took his wallet. He had a few notes, his national ID card and administrator’s exam card.

Not long after, one of the fighters wearing a long beard came and ordered: “Sleep, sleep. Sleep down. Sleep down.” They lay down. Another one, much younger, stood over them and thundered: “I shoot, I shoot you now.”

However, another one, a brown one, held his colleague back. They were then ordered to stand up.

The militants looked at the two petrified officials and seemed at a loss what to do with them.

One saw Wainaina’s staff badge around his neck and after consulting briefly with the other miltants, he yanked it off. They consulted some more before another order came: “Remove clothes, remove clothes.”

 “I had difficulty removing my T-shirt, which was a bit tight. They told me to leave it on. One came to me, took my hands and tied them on my back,” recalled Mule.

They used a keffiye, which had lots of blood on it.

“I came back (to Kenya after my release) with it. That piece of cloth has been my towel, blindfold, water filter, handcuff at different times in my incarceration,” Mule told The Standard On Sunday.

They were then tied together with Wainaina.

On hour later, they were ordered to climb the back of the pick-up truck they had hired for the vetting exercise, and which was now in the control of the fighters.

Six hour siege

The truck’s driver was also tied in the car.  “He looked miserable and stared out blankly, to the twinkling stars above in the heavens,” said Mule. The truck was full of loot of different kinds, including a solar panel.  “I glanced at the car clock. It was 10:46 pm. I memorised the time so that in case I survived, it would help me track the days.

After six hours of siege and final capture, the vehicle started moving towards the Somalia border.

“As we left, I saw the woman with the jerrican, the one who was going to fetch water. She was dead. The jerrican had been burst open by hundreds of bullets. We drove over her.”

“Behind me, I saw the AP Camp burning. That is when it hit me that we had been finished. I realised that the policemen had been killed. After about two kilometres or so, we entered Somalia territory.”


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