Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Mystery Irish ex-Army hero saved hundreds in terror attack at Nairobi mall

Heavy smoke rises from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi Kenya Monday Sept. 23 2013. Multiple large blasts have rocked the mall where a hostage siege is in its third day. Associated Press reporters on the scene heard multiple blasts and a barrage of gunfire. Security forces have been attempting to rescue an unknown number of hostages inside the mall held by al-Qaida-linked terrorists. (AP Photo/ Jerome Delay)
Heavy smoke rises from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi Kenya Monday Sept. 23 2013
Kenya security personnel take cover outside the Westgate Mall after shooting started inside the mall early Monday morning, Sept. 23, 2013
Kenyan security personnel and journalists duck behind a vehicle as heavy gunfire erupts from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi Kenya Monday Sept. 23 2013
An armored personnel carrier drives through the car park towards the main entrance of the Westgate Mall as large explosions and heavy gunfire are heard in Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Sept. 23, 2013
A helicopte and birds fly above as a plume of black smoke billows rising over the Westgate Mall, following large explosions and heavy gunfire, in Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Sept. 23, 2013
Kenyan police officers dive for cover as large explosions and heavy gunfire are heard from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Sept. 23, 2013
Local and foreign television crews line up behind a police cordon at the end of a street leading to the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Sept. 23, 2013. Hostages being held by al-Qaida-linked terrorists in a Nairobi mall have not been released despite an earlier statement from the military that "most" had been rescued, a person connected to the situation told The Associated Press on Monday. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Samantha Lewthwaite with Jermaine Lindsay
'White Widow': Lewthwaite and another al-Qaida suspect in the photo taken at the Kenyan border
Samantha Lewthwaite
Armed police from the General Service Unit take cover behind a wall during a bout of gunfire, outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Sept. 23, 2013. Hostages being held by al-Qaida-linked terrorists in a Nairobi mall have not been released despite an earlier statement from the military that "most" had been rescued, a person connected to the situation told The Associated Press on Monday. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Paramedics run outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi after heavy shooting started Monday, Sept. 23, 2013. Kenya's military launched a major operation at the upscale Nairobi mall and said it had rescued "most" of the hostages being held captive by al-Qaida-linked militants during the standoff. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
Kenya security personnel ask journalists to clear the area and not to take pictures outside the Westgate Mall after firing started inside the mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013. Kenya's military launched a major operation at the upscale Nairobi mall and said it had rescued "most" of the hostages being held captive by al-Qaida-linked militants during the standoff that killed at least 68 people and injured 175. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
Kenya security forces are seen behind a wall outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Monday morning, Sept. 23, 2013. Kenya's military launched a major operation at the upscale Nairobi mall and said it had rescued "most" of the hostages being held captive by al-Qaida-linked militants during the standoff that killed at least 68 people and injured 175. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Kenya Securiy personnel take cover outside the Westgate Mall after firing started inside the mall, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013. Kenya's military launched a major operation at the upscale Nairobi mall and said it had rescued "most" of the hostages being held captive by al-Qaida-linked militants during the standoff that killed at least 68 people and injured 175. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
Armed police leave after entering the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013. Gunmen threw grenades and opened fire Saturday in an attack targeting non-Muslims at an upscale mall in Kenya's capital thatwas hosting a children's day event, a Red Cross official and witnesses said. Photo by Jonathan Kalan
A body, left, lies outside the Westgate Mall, an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday amid an ongoing terror attack
A security officer helps a wounded woman outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, after gunmen threw grenades and opened fire during an attack that left multiple dead and dozens wounded.
Security officers help a wounded woman outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, after gunmen threw grenades and opened fire during an attack that left multiple dead and dozens wounded. A witness to the attacks on the upscale shopping mall says that gunmen told Muslims to stand up and leave and that non-Muslims would be targeted. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)
A body is carried by medical personnel outside the Westgate Mall, an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday Sept. 21 2013, where shooting erupted when armed men attempted to rob a shop, according to police. Witnesses say a half dozen grenades also went off along with volleys of gunfire in and around the mall. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
A body, left, lies outside the Westgate Mall, an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday Sept. 21 2013, where shooting erupted when armed men attempted to rob a shop, according to police. Witnesses say a half dozen grenades also went off along with volleys of gunfire in and around the mall. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
A woman's body is removed from the car by the Kenya Red Cross outside the Westgate Mall,an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday Sept. 21 2013, where shooting erupted when armed men attempted to rob a shop, according to police. Witnesses say a half dozen grenades also went off along with volleys of gunfire in and around the mall. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
Bodies lie outside an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday Sept. 21 2013, where shooting erupted when armed men attempted to rob a shop, according to police. Witnesses say a half dozen grenades also went off along with volleys of gunfire in and around the mall. (AP Photo/ Jason Straziuso)
An injured man is trreated outside an upscale shopping mall, seen background, in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday Sept. 21 2013, where shooting erupted when armed men attempted to rob a shop, according to police. Witnesses say a half dozen grenades also went off along with lobbies of gunfire that started at midday. (AP Photo/ Jason Straziuso)
A soldier moves to take up a position outside an upscale shopping mall, seen background, in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday Sept. 21 2013, where shooting erupted when armed men attempted to rob a shop, according to police. Witnesses say a half dozen grenades also went off along with lobbies of gunfire that started at midday. (AP Photo/ Jason Straziuso)
Trucks of soldiers from the Kenya Defense Forces arrive after dawn outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Islamic extremist gunmen lobbed grenades and fired assault rifles inside Nairobi's top mall Saturday, killing dozens and wounding over a hundred in the attack. Early Sunday morning, 12 hours after the attack began, gunmen remained holed up inside the mall with an unknown number of hostages. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Kenya security personnel move to take their positions outside a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Kenya authorities said Islamic extremist attackers remain inside the upscale Kenyan shopping mall, holding an unknown number of hostages, after killing at least 39 and injuring 150 in the Saturday's attack. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
An armed police officer takes cover during a bout of gunfire outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013. Gunmen threw grenades and opened fire Saturday killing at least 22 people in an attack targeting non-Muslims at an upscale mall in Kenya's capital that was hosting a children's day event, a Red Cross official and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Groups of onlookers gather on a road looking down over the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Multiple barrages of gunfire erupted Sunday morning from the upscale Kenyan mall where there is a hostage standoff with Islamic extremists nearly 24 hours after they attacked using grenades and assault rifles. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Kenya Defense forces personnel take their positions outside a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Kenya authorities said Islamic extremist attackers remain inside the upscale Kenyan shopping mall, holding an unknown number of hostages, after killing at least 39 and injuring 150 during the Saturday's attack. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
Kenya security personnel walk to their positions outside a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Kenya authorities said Islamic extremist attackers remain inside the upscale Kenyan shopping mall, holding an unknown number of hostages, after killing at least 39 and injuring 150 during the Saturday's attack. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
Kenya security personnel move to their positions as others stand guard outside a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Kenya authorities said Islamic extremist attackers remain inside the upscale Kenyan shopping mall, holding an unknown number of hostages, after killing at least 39 and injuring 150 during the Saturday's attack. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
Trucks of soldiers from the Kenya Defense Forces arrive after dawn outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.
Civilians who had been hiding during the gun battle hold their hands in the air as a precautionary measure before being searched by armed police leading them to safety, inside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013. Gunmen threw grenades and opened fire Saturday, killing at least 22 people in an attack targeting non-Muslims at an upscale mall in Kenya's capital that was hosting a children's day event, a Red Cross official and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Jonathan Kalan)
A body is seen on the floor, below right, as smoke fills the air inside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013. Gunmen threw grenades and opened fire Saturday, killing at least 22 people in an attack targeting non-Muslims at an upscale mall in Kenya's capital that was hosting a children's day event, a Red Cross official and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Jonathan Kalan)
Armed police take cover behind escalators as smoke fills the air inside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013. Gunmen threw grenades and opened fire Saturday, killing at least 22 people in an attack targeting non-Muslims at an upscale mall in Kenya's capital that was hosting a children's day event, a Red Cross official and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Jonathan Kalan)
Civilians who had been hiding inside during gunbattles manage to flee from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013. Gunmen threw grenades and opened fire Saturday killing at least 22 people in an attack targeting non-Muslims at an upscale mall in Kenya's capital that was hosting a children's day event, a Red Cross official and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Jonathan Kalan)
Civilians who had been hiding inside during the gun battle manage to flee from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013. Gunmen threw grenades and opened fire Saturday, killing at least 22 people in an attack targeting non-Muslims at an upscale mall in Kenya's capital that was hosting a children's day event, a Red Cross official and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Jonathan Kalan)
An armed police officer takes cover during a bout of gunfire outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013. Gunmen threw grenades and opened fire Saturday killing at least 22 people in an attack targeting non-Muslims at an upscale mall in Kenya's capital that was hosting a children's day event, a Red Cross official and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A rescue worker helps a child outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, after gunmen threw grenades and opened fire during an attack that left multiple dead and dozens wounded. A witness to the attacks on the upscale shopping mall says that gunmen told Muslims to stand up and leave and that non-Muslims would be targeted. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)
The mother and a security guard help a child outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Sept. 21 2013, after gunmen threw grenades and opened fire during an attack that left multiple dead and dozens wounded. A witness to the attacks on the upscale shopping mall says that gunmen told Muslims to stand up and leave and that non-Muslims would be targeted. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)
Armed special forces aim their weapons at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, after gunmen threw grenades and opened fire during an attack that left multiple dead and dozens wounded. A witness to the attacks on the upscale shopping mall says that gunmen told Muslims to stand up and leave and that non-Muslims would be targeted. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)

A former Irish Army ranger helped save hundreds of terrified shoppers who were trapped inside the Westgate mall as it came under terrorist attack at the weekend.

The hero, who does not want his identity to be revealed, was part of a group of four who fought off some of the al Qa'ida linked attackers to rescue the terrified shoppers.

A close friend revealed last night that the ex-soldier was about to leave the mall when the attack began and he ran back inside with a former British soldier.

They were provided with guns by two Asian men and the four ran into an underground car park where they found over 200 shoppers and staff hiding behind parked trucks.

They brought the group up a ramp onto a street and then returned to the mall where they found another 100 people.

The men also helped to bring them out of the mall.

But when the two ex-soldiers tried to gain access to the third floor, where some colleagues were based, they came under fire from the roof.

They returned fire and moved into a restaurant where others were in hiding.

After a further exchange of gunfire, they found another large group of shoppers and engaged with the gunmen again as they brought them to safety.

The close friend told the Irish Independent last night: "They left no one behind.

"In escorting those people from the premises they took more fire from the upper floor before escaping.

"This man then spent three hours using his paramedical training to help the injured, including people who had been shot or hit by hand grenade shrapnel, and then turned restaurant tables into temporary stretchers to shuttle them to safety.

"His skills saved the lives of many. Eye witness accounts say he did an extraordinary job", the friend added.

The former soldier spent several years in the Army Ranger Wing.

He is from the Midlands and is currently working as a consultant with an international company based in Africa.

He had been in Nairobi on business and was making a social visit to the mall when the shooting started.

His friend said he slipped out of the mall afterwards in blood-soaked jeans and t-shirt and "stayed out of the limelight, despite tweets and appeals on Facebook from people, who wanted to thank him for his efforts".

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