Today from Hiiraan Online:
Tears flow at Westgate memorial
PHOTO | SALATON NJAU A relative of a Westgate terror attack victim prays at a memorial park in Karura forest on October 21, 2013. Seventy trees representing each victim of the attack were planted and a plaque erected in their honour. NATION MEDIA GROUP
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Emotions ran high and tears flowed freely as families of the Westgate terror attack victims held a memorial service at Karura Forest in Nairobi on Tuesday.
During the service to mark one month since the attack, the families also planted trees to remember their loved ones. At least 70 people were killed in the raid.
“My hope is that your life will continue in this young tree,” said Mr Charles Njenga as he planted a tree in honour of his son, Crispal Gaitungu, who was shot dead by the terrorists.
Two steps away, Ms Wendy Zhang tucked flowers next to the tree she had planted in honour of her sister-in-law, Zhou Jian, also killed by the attackers.
Nominated senator Beth Mugo planted two trees in honour of her nephew, Mbugua Mwangi, and his fiance, Rosemary Wahito. They were sprayed with bullets as Mr Mbugua tried to shield his lover from the terrorists.
Earlier, renditions of patriotic songs and calls for peace dominated the speech session at the picnic area where the service was conducted.
Small flags of various nations whose citizens died in the raid were placed on the dais.
Fourteen countries, among them the US, Britain, China and France, lost citizens in the attack, Kenya’s worst since the 1998 US embassy bombing in which more than 220 people were killed.
Monday’s event was organised by Friends of Karura Forest in conjunction with the Kenya Forest Service.
Friends of Karura Forest chairman Karanja Njoroge said they had decided to allocate a small portion of the forest for planting trees in honour of the victims because some of them were frequent visitors to the forest popular with joggers and families who attend bazaars and other social events.
“We have planted seventy trees today as that is the official figure of the number of victims we received but there is room for planting more,” Prof Njoroge said at the location which will now be called Amani Garden.
He called on all Kenyans to remain vigilant since security threats had taken different forms.
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