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South African saved by Senator Abdul Haji at Westgate attack pens touching message

By Nyaboga Kiage September 22nd, 2022 2 min read

Ms Margie Brand, a South African national, whose life was saved during the Westgate terror attack back in 2013, by Garissa Senator Abdul Haji has penned a touching tribute.

Ms Brand who was in a viral photo taken during the rescue efforts during the terror attack penned a tribute to commemorate the day.

Nine years ago, on September 21, a Saturday afternoon, armed Al Shabaab militants stormed the Westgate Mall armed with rifles and explosives.

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The militants whose exact number has never been made public started shooting randomly at everyone in a deadly stampede that left 71 people dead.

“September 21, 2013 (9 years ago), is the day my life nearly ended, yet it did not. Rather it became the day I ended up on a life journey filled with incredible people, experiences, insights, and valuable life lessons,” Ms Brand wrote on her social media.

Ms Brand added that her special message to commemorate the day was to all the people who are currently experiencing loss, grief, and trauma all around the world.

“An integral part of our human experience – yet so tough. And in so many cases, seemingly so unfair,” she said.

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She also sent a special message to the people who lost their lives on the same day and mentioned Mr James Thomas who also did not make it out.

“Thoughts of the many hundreds who were injured and traumatized, who are still dealing with those challenges today. What a wonderful gift it is to experience healing. While still being able to remember and to grieve,” she said.

Ms Brand is amongst thousands who were successfully evacuated from the mall.

In October 2020, two Al Shabaab militants were jailed after they were found guilty of planning the attack.

Mohammed Ahmed Abdi received a 33-year prison sentence, and Hussein Hassan Mustafa was jailed for 18 years after they were charged with planning and committing acts of terror, as well as supporting and helping a terrorist group.

A third suspect, Liban Abdullahi, was found not guilty. The Somali refugee was also acquitted of the charge of being in Kenya illegally and possessing identification documents by false presence.

Witnesses said that the day after he was found not guilty, gunmen stopped his taxi and abducted him. He has not been seen since.

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