Saturday, September 21, 2013

Kenya: Update--Death Toll from Westlands Mall Shooting, Focusing on Non-Muslims, Rises to 20

According to Reuters and my earlier posting, unidentified gunmen who stormed the upscale shopping mall at Westlands in Nairobi earlier today (September 21) killed at least 20 people, most of them non-Muslims.

Sporadic gun shots could be heard hours after the assault started as soldiers surrounded the mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting down the attackers shop by shop.

The Somalian militant group al-Shabaab, which Kenya blames for shootings, bombings and grenade attacks against churches and security forces, had threatened such an attack before the strike at the Westgate Mall, which is popular with the city's expatriate community.

COMMENT: It is believed that upwards of five assailants were involved in the attack.

Increasingly, commercial malls on a worldwide basis, are increasingly the venue for armed robberies, sabotage, hostage-takings and political extremism. Thus, the following tips are offered:

1. Continually be observant of suspicious people who seem to be out-of-place, particularly those carrying large bags or totes;

2. If you hear a "pop-pop-pop" anywhere near you, immediately crouch down, seek "cover" and simultaneously attempt to determine from what direction gunfire is coming from;  

3. Recognize that many pedestrians we encounter in everyday life may not be mentally stable, may be carrying a concealed weapon or pose a risk to law-abiding people;

4. Subtly observe people that may be watching you intently so that you can be thinking of ways in which to seek cover or concealment or take appropriate action;

5. Remember, "cover" is defined as an area, structure or barrier that potentially might shield you from gunfire, whereas "concealment" only shields you from visual observation;

6. A "safe" distance from rifle fire is 1,000 yards, handgun fire 100 yards, "car bombs" a 1,000 yards and a grenade detonation 100 feet;

7. Realize that some semi-auto handguns can hold a capacity of upwards of 20 rounds, but in the end, shooters must eventually reload, which may avail a law-abiding citizens person to take action, IF he/she shoots regularly and is proficient. If they are NOT proficient, they should simply seek "cover";

8. Revolvers normally carry a capacity of six to nine rounds;

9. In your day-to-day life, always be vigilant of persons who potentially can harm you or others and what action you can take in a number of life-and-death situations do avoid injury or death; and

10. Always wear comfortable shoes that you can run in...you have to.