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People flee the Westgate mall during the siege Photo by: FT.com

Irish hero of Kenyan mall attacks says "just doing my job"

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People flee the Westgate mall during the siege Photo by: FT.com

The Irish security consultant who rescued shoppers during the terrorist attack on Nairobi's Westgate Mall has said that he was "just doing my job."

The unnamed former Irish Army Ranger and a colleague have been called heroes for risking their lives to save the trapped survivors of the attack, which killed 70 people.

The 37-year-old dodged bullets and returned fire on the al-Shabaab terrorists, killing one of the gunmen.

"There were bodies littered everywhere. They (the terrorists) cut down everyone in front of them," the ex-soldier told the Irish Independent.

He added that that attackers showed an advanced level of military training.

"The media spin coming from Kenya is that this was a small, poorly organised gang but from my first-hand experience that is not the case. They were well-trained, well-prepared and disciplined."

He also claimed that there continued to be confusion over the actual death toll of the attacks, which began on September 21 and lasted four days.

"Just counting the number of bodies I saw that day, I estimate that at least 100 and probably a lot more people were killed and are not accounted for. I believe there has been a lot of disinformation put out."

The former Ranger is the head of security for a major oil company in East Africa. He told the Irish Independent that he and a colleague were in their office a 10-minute drive away from the mall when the terrorists attacked.

"We were notified of the attack immediately and quickly discovered that two of our clients were trapped in a restaurant within the Mall.

"At that stage we had just one mission and that was to rescue two of our clients. In our efforts to get to them in the shopping centre, we helped evacuate a lot of people. There was nothing heroic about that – I was just doing my job."

The security consultant and his colleague were the first rescuers to enter the mall within 30 minutes of the start of the attack.

It is believed that the two men, along with a few police officers, helped evacuate up to 500 people. Neither he nor his colleague were armed when they entered the mall, but the former soldier was able to obtain a handgun from a civilian.

"There are serious lessons to be learnt from this attack by security services around the world," he said, adding: "The level of organisation and discipline suggests that they could try the same type of suicide mission anywhere in the West." he said.

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