Indian-origin man offered himself as hostage in Kenya mall to save children, killed: Report

Last Updated: Sun, Sep 29, 2013 09:32 hrs

London: An Indian-origin Briton was among those killed in the terror attack on a mall in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi after he offered himself as a hostage to save a group of children.

London-born Mitul Shah, 38, a marketing executive at Bidco Oil, an east African cooking oil company, tried to negotiate with the terrorists in a bid to save 33 children taking part in a TV cooking competition that his company was sponsoring on the roof of the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, The Evening Standard reported.

Mr Shah failed to convince the gunmen to agree and he and a number of children as well as a radio presenter, Ruhila Adatia-Sood, were shot dead.

However, according to the report, his efforts are thought to have given the victims precious seconds to flee and hide.

The attack that was launched on September 21 and lasted four days claimed 67 lives, including 61 civilians and six security personnel.

Somali group Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and said that it was in response to Nairobi's October 2011 military intervention against Al Shabaab in Somalia.

A father of one, Mr Shah had graduated in management science with computing from the University of Kent and joined Bidco Oil as a management trainee 16 years ago.

Dipak Shah, director of Bidco Oil said on Friday that everyone was feeling a "profound sense of loss" and offered their sympathies to the victim's wife Rupal and daughter Sarai, aged two.

"We are in constant contact with them. They are devastated, as are we all. He was there with the kids, as a representative as we were a sponsor of the programme," Mr Shah was quoted as saying.

"He was trying to negotiate the freedom of the children in order for him to be taken as a hostage. Some had managed to save their lives but unfortunately he, and others, could not," he said.

"It was a heroic and brave act - a true reflection of his soul. He was a wonderful person who always went out of his way, beyond the call of duty, to help others."

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