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Kenya shopping mall attack: Hero former Royal Marine re-entered Westgate shopping centre 12 times to save 100 people from terrorists

Ex-soldier emerges as one of the heroes of the shopping mall terror attack

A former Royal Marine has emerged as one of the heroes of the Kenyan shopping mall terror attack after it emerged that he saved 100 people from AK47-wielding jihadists using only a handgun.

The ex-soldier, who cannot be named or pictured for security reasons, was having coffee with friends at the Westgate mall in Nairobi when an estimated 13 terrorists burst into the building and began killing people.

Witnesses say the former serviceman returned to the building at least twelve times during the deadly terror attack, leading around 100 people to safety as bullets and explosions brought chaos to the upmarket shopping centre.

The ex-Royal Marine’s story came to light after he was photographed leading two upset women to safety with a gun tucked into the waistband of his jeans.

Sources in Kenya have told news agencies that the man said is a former Royal Marine who now lives in the country full-time, with one friend saying: “What he did was so heroic… he went back in 12 times and saved 100 people.”

The friend added: “Imagine going back in when you knew what was going on inside”.

The British military regularly train and operate in East Africa, often using Kenya as a base for tracking UK citizens suspected of being involved in terrorist activities in Somalia and Kenya.

A large number of former soldiers continue to live in the country after their service ends, working as security personnel for private agencies and the Kenyan government.

Further reading:

British boy freed after telling jihadist: 'You're a bad man'
The victims came from around the world. So did their killers
Was wife of 7/7 bomber among attackers?
'All hostages freed' as Kenyan soldiers take control of mall
Kenyans are more united in tragedy’s aftermath
The victims: The architect and his pregnant wife
Video: Amateur footage from Kenya shopping mall attack
Ian Birrell: How to fight al-Shabaab