At exactly 4.59pm yesterday, Rodah Owako got a strange call from her friend Sarah, CEO of an impact investment company housed at the Dusit building.
“I hear glasses breaking! Call the police and inform journalists,” she said, then hang up. It is then that Rodah realised her friend could be in grave danger and promptly took to social media to express her fear. A few minutes later, the reality of what was happening hit her. TV stations were live with news of a possible terrorist attack. Her friend’s phone was still off.
On social media, people who were still stuck in the building were sending appeals to their relatives and friends, saying they were desperately hoping that police will arrive and save them from the stuttering gun shots and crushing glasses that dominated the air around 14 Riverside Drive.
Ronald Ng’eno, through his twitter account, said he was hiding in a bathroom on the first floor of Gronsven building.
“If I die, I love the Lord and believe I will go to heaven. Please tell my family I love them. I love you Caleb, Mark and Carol,” read part of his emotional tweet that attracted a lot of attention, with Kenyans calling on police officers to go and save the trapped victims.
Millicent Maera who had a lunch date with her husband at the hotel recorded a sentimental video softly weeping and telling her husband that if she dies, she will go holding the memories of their love. Her husband had texted her a few minutes before, telling her he was on his way.
“I never imagined I will ever have to make this kind of video. I love you,” she said amidst sobs, in a video that she circulated in a whatsapp group.
Brenda Nyangi, who was at the scene at around 1pm, claims she noticed things were not right from the kind of inspection they were subjected to by the security guards at DusitD2 when she was leaving the building.
After a business meeting as she was driving off the parking lot, the security officers at the exit stopped her and several other motorists, saying there has been a robbery at the building, and all people leaving the building must go through rigorous checks.
“They had stopped a number of cars supposedly looking for a car which had carried some TVs outside. I asked which kind of car and one answered that it was a personal vehicle,” said Brenda.
She considers herself lucky. She had barely gotten home when she realised she had escaped death by a whisker.
Silas Apollo who was trapped in the building for several hours depended on his network to appeal for help.
“People have been reaching me. Contacts from outside say help will come soon,” he wrote a text meesage.
Irene Rono whose brother works as a security officer at the building, said he did not pick his phone calls and failed to respond to the family’s text message.
“Bro, tell us something. Are you okay? Your little boy will be waiting for you to come home this evening,” she wrote.
By the time of going to press, she had not heard from him.