Local Kenyans Watch Terror Attacks In Anguish - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Local Kenyans Watch Terror Attacks In Anguish

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Idah Mathu Idah Mathu

by Aundrea Cline-Thomas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Thousands of miles away from Nairobi, the terror attacks are impacting Kenyans in Middle Tennessee.

"I called my roommate. I called my cousin," Idah Mathu said. "I called my aunt."

Mathu woke up Saturday to news that terrorists had struck Kenya's popular Westgate Mall.

"The last time I was actually in Kenya I went to the cafe which is the first place (terrorists) started shooting at people," she said.

Between phone calls and chat messages, Mathu contacted family and friends until receiving word that everyone was safe.   

"Just knowing the terror of waiting. Trying to find out if your family is okay, are your friends okay. Was anyone near...you know...ground zero," she explained. "It's really scary."

Mathu was in Kenya in 1998 when al-Qaeda bombed the U.S. Embassy killing and wounding hundreds.  Now Mathu uses technology to bridge the gap.

"There's been a lot of tears watching the videos online. I mean looking at pictures online."

A conversation via WhatApp up between Idah's brother and his friend Kevin, who was in the mall, made the horrific events even more real.

"Then he says we have no idea what's happening. We're in a room by the staircase and all we can hear is the gun exchange," Mathu said while reading the exchanges.

Kevin was able to make it out safely, but dozens more were not so lucky.

"Then he says 'wow my colleagues just witnessed guys being shot at.'"

For many, the images are from a half a world away, but for Mathu it's home.

"What we covet most is just prayers for those who've been hurt; praying for the families of the deceased," she said. "Just hoping that it comes to an end sooner than later. It's gone on for way too long."

Email: acline-thomas@newschannel5.com
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