Nairobi News


EXCLUSIVE: Iron woman who survived Westgate and Riverside attacks

By NYABOGA KIAGE January 16th, 2019 2 min read

The last thing Ms Tracy Wanjiru expected when she went to work on Tuesday morning at the DusitD2 complex was that she would be caught up in another terror attack, six years after surviving the Westgate attack.

Ms Wanjiru 28, a manager at a salon in the complex, was in September 2013 at the Westgate Mall when Al-Shabaab militants stormed in throwing grenades and firing at everyone. She was six months pregnant at the time.

“I was working there when the attackers stormed in, it was not easy just like today. All I can say is that I thank God,” she told Nairobi News in an exclusive interview.

Unlike in the Westgate attack, where she was located far away from the attackers, Ms Wanjiru said she was close to the Riverside attackers on Tuesday and relied on her previous experience to save herself.


A few minutes past 3pm on Tuesday, she heard gunshots rent the air near where she worked. She tried to peep outside and the next thing she heard was a loud explosion.

The explosion, she says, was so forceful that she was for a couple of minutes taken away from reality.

“I jumped back to the salon, told my colleagues to be keen because we were under attack. They dismissed me at first but when they heard wails and screams, everyone went into hiding,” she narrated.

Ms Wanjiru said she was in shock all along as thoughts raced through her mind of her imminent death.

After the explosion she saw “human body parts in the midst of fire flames flying in the air.”

Ms Wanjiru also gave the same description on her Facebook page where she said that “the images in my mind are just so scary.”

It is from her hiding place inside the salon that Ms Wanjiru used her Westgate attack experience to call for help through social media.

“Someone help us out stack there is a bomb at 14riverside drive…..pleasee..Call police,” she first posted, as her friends tried to help.