Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 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. 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 personnel take cover outside the Westgate Mall after shooting started inside the mall early Monday morning, Sept. 23, 2013
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)
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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