This family escaped Mall horror by playing dead

Sep 26, 2013, 00:04 IST | Agencies

Footage emerges of the heart-stopping moment when a mother told her children to play dead, as terrorists opened fire at the Nairobi mall killing 72 people

With gunmen running amok from all angles, their gut reaction must have been to flee for their lives.

But this young family was able to escape the Kenyan mall massacre by having the remarkable presence of mind to play dead in their fight to survive.

Cowering for cover: A mother asks her children to lie flat on the floor behind the bar inside the Westgate Mall. She asked them not to move, as gunmen opened fire and gunned down many innocent people. Only after a policeman approached, did the family perilously move to the entrance and escape the massacre. Pic/AFP

A dramatic new video has emerged that shows the mother lying completely still with her arm around her youngest child, as terrorists storm the complex.

Her elder daughter lies motionless next to them, alongside a bag of shopping items.

The trio are then approached by a man, reportedly a police officer, who takes time to reassure the woman that it is safe to move, before helping her and the children escape.

The siege finally came to an end on Tuesday late night after four days.

As it stands, 72 people, including five Islamic extremists, have died.

Another 63 are listed as missing by the Kenyan Red Cross, and the death toll is expected to rise as the mall is cleared.

Before attack, rehearsals and planting of guns
How the plan was hatched, which eventually ended with over 67 people dead, over 170 being injured and three floors collapsing inside the mall
>> The plot was hatched months ago on Somali soil, by al-Shabab’s external operations arm

>> A team of English-speaking foreign fighters was carefully selected, along with a target: Nairobi’s gleaming Westgate mall

>> The building’s blueprints were studied, down to the ventilation ducts

>> The attack was rehearsed and the team dispatched, slipping undetected through Kenya’s porous borders

>> The Islamic militants who stormed the Kenyan mall rented a shop inside the complex, apparently to store a cache of guns and explosives before the attack

>> A day or two before the attack, powerful belt-fed machine guns were secretly stashed in a shop in the mall with the help of a colluding employee.

>> At least one militant had even packed a change of clothes, so he could slip out with civilians after the killings were done.

>> The attackers, believed to number between 10 and 15, stormed the mall on Saturday morning, while a children’s cooking contest — well-publicised — was in process. About five armed attackers burst through one of the main entrances, guns blazing, while another four entered through an underground parking lot.

>> During the attack, the terrorists ‘were not interested in hostage-taking’ or negotiating. ‘They only wanted to kill.’

The number of people who have died in the mall attack

The number of hours the siege continued, making it Kenya’s longest attack 

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