B.C. businessman killed in Kenya mall attack was in transit, family says
Naguib Damji, of Vancouver, died during the attack in Nairobi, Kenya.
Jeff Lawrence, CTV British Columbia
Published Sunday, September 22, 2013 1:39PM PDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 22, 2013 4:24PM PDT
The second Canadian victim of a Kenya mall attack that has left at least 68 people dead has been identified as Vancouver-area man Naguib Damji.
A family member close to Damji told CTV News the 59-year-old entrepreneur was only travelling through Kenya over the weekend when he died in the attack.
He said the family is extremely shaken up by Damji’s death and has requested privacy.
The family has been told there will be an autopsy performed on the body Monday to determine cause of death.
Damji’s family was initially told he died of a heart attack, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
A cousin of Damji’s was reportedly with him at the time of the shooting, which is related to conflict between Islamic militants and the Kenyan military.
An unknown number of hostages remained inside the mall Sunday, as militants and Kenyan soldier engage in gun battles.
Rebels armed with grenades and assault rifles stormed Westgate Mall in Nairobi on Saturday, with witnesses saying they specifically targeted non-Muslims.
The attack has left at least 68 dead, including Damji and another Canadian, and injured 175 others.
A Facebook post by a woman identified as Damji’s daughter shows a picture of the man standing in front of a lush green backdrop and has attracted many heartfelt comments.
“I can’t even imagine what you are going through….stay strong xxoo,” one wrote.
Another described Damji as “an awesome person, so full of life [and] so kind.”
Kenyan police say a "major" assault by security forces has begun to end the two-day hostage crisis.
Kenya's Disaster Operation Center said late Sunday that "this will end tonight. Our forces will prevail."
Word of the Kenyan assault comes shortly after a large blast echoed from the mall, around the start of the operation.
Before the assault two helicopters hovered over the mall, skimming the roof. Al-Shabab militants reacted angrily to the helicopters on Twitter and said the Kenyan military action was endangering hostages.
With files from CTV British Columbia's Norma Reid and The Associated Press