Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Father slams 'senseless atrocity'

Security personnel take cover outside the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi (AP/Sayyid Azim)

The father of a four-year-old boy who was spared by terrorist gunmen in the Kenyan shopping centre siege after branding him "a very bad man" has told of the trauma caused by the "senseless atrocity".

Dan Prior, whose son's brave reaction prompted him to spare him and his six-year-old sister, along with their mother, said he was relieved his family survived, but said his thoughts are with those who were not so lucky.

Following the boy's comments, the gunman reportedly asked the family for forgiveness and gave the children chocolate bars.

The youngster, from Windsor, Berkshire, was in a supermarket with his mother Amber - who is not a British national - and sister when terrorists stormed the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi on Saturday, The Sun reported.

The boy is believed to have been trying to protect his mother, who had been shot in the leg.

In a statement, Mr Prior said: "I am very relieved that my family have survived and my thoughts go out to those families that are not as fortunate as my own.

"My children are traumatised and my wife is very unwell as a result of this senseless atrocity.

"As a family we now need time and privacy to heal. We would strongly urge anyone interested in helping out the victims of this attack to make donations to the Kenya Red Cross."

The youngster's uncle Alex Coutts told The Sun that when terrorists asked if any children were alive in the supermarket, his nephew, nieces and their mother stood up and said yes, before the four-year-old said: "You're a bad man, let us leave."

Mr Coutts told the newspaper: "He was very brave. The terrorists even gave the kids Mars bars."

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