A New Zealand man who was shot in the back during a mall
attack in Kenya successfully underwent surgery to his chest
Andrew McLaren and his wife Kathy were at a cafe in the
Westgate mall in the capital Nairobi when militants linked to
al-Qaeda opened fire on Saturday, killing at least 68 people
and injuring 175.
The couple got down but Mr McLaren was shot as he sheltered
from the indiscriminate shower of gunfire. He was rushed to
Aga Khan Hospital in a taxi and last night underwent surgery
to remove bullet fragments.
Mr McLaren, 34, from Hastings, had worked in Kenya since 2011
as the operations manager for Olivado, a natural health
products company with production bases in Kerikeri and
Olivado chief executive Gary Hannam, who flew into Nairobi
yesterday, said Mr McLaren was coping well.
"Andrew completed his surgery late this afternoon [local
time] and is back in the ward."
"The operation to his chest was successful, he is not in any
danger, but the doctors have requested that he rest
completely for at least two to three days."
He is expected to have another operation in 5 days times to
close the wound.
Mr and Mrs McLaren would also like to thank New Zealander's
for their support, Mr Hannam said.
When speaking to the couple, Mr Hannam said they compared the
the mall massacre to a war zone - except as an act of
terrorism, it was "worse than being in a war".
"They were actually sitting in a cafe and they heard some
gunfire from inside the building. The cafe terrace faced the
road, so they got down and bullets were just going everywhere
- I mean, these guys were firing indiscriminately all over
the place," he said.
"Andrew got hit and there was an older gentleman who was
nearby them who told them to stay down."
Mr Hannam said a cafe worker got the couple to safety and put
them in a taxi.
"They were one of the first people to the Aga Khan Hospital,
so he was saved - very lucky."
Mr Hannam said people in Nairobi were in shock.
"Nairobi, in spite of its reputation, is a very quiet place.
I've been coming here for a long time and this is not what
usually happens," he said.
"This is a terrorist attack, and it's not something that's a
reflection upon the safety of the place."
Mr McLaren's rugby club posted on its Facebook page: "The
Havelock North Rugby Club would like to send our aroha and
mana to Andrew and Kath McLaren."
The massacre is the second violent incident involving Olivado
in Nairobi. In 2007, Aucklander Julian Nathan, 76, was beaten
to death by intruders in an apartment complex where he was
staying with two colleagues of his son Chris, who worked for
Olivado general manager Sarah Nicholls said the attack had
been a shock for workers in Kerikeri, where Mr McLaren worked
for half the year.
She said Kenya was not an unsafe place and it was a matter of
being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"Our operation there has obviously been going for about five
or six years we've just built a new factory there. We're
really happy with it, we're really happy with the production
and Andrew's done a fantastic job there this year."
Kenya's military said most of the hostages held captive
during the three-day standoff had been rescued.
The al-Qaeda-linked extremist group al-Shabab has claimed
responsibility for the attack, which it said was in response
to Kenya's peacekeeping forces entering neighbouring Somalia
two years ago.
- Additional reporting Hawke's Bay Today