Nairobi mall attack: The hero of Westgate - Briton who died to save children in Kenyan mall siege
Mitul Shah offered himself as a hostage so children in cooking competition could flee
A British victim of the Kenya shopping mall massacre was murdered after offering himself as a hostage to save a group of children, it emerged today.
Mitul Shah, 38, a marketing executive who was born in London, tried to negotiate with al-Shabaab terrorists in a bid to save the 33 children taking part in a TV cooking competition that his company was sponsoring on the roof of the Westgate centre in Nairobi.
Colleagues said his efforts are thought to have given the victims precious seconds to flee and hide, although Mr Shah was unable to convince the gunmen to agree and he and a number of children were shot dead as well as the radio presenter Ruhila Adatia-Sood.
Mr Shah, a father-of-one who graduated in management science with computing from the University of Kent, joined Bidco Oil, an east African cooking oil company, as a management trainee 16 years ago.
A director of the company, Dipak Shah, said everyone was feeling a “profound sense of loss” and offering their sympathies to his wife Rupal and daughter Sarai, aged two, who are being comforted by relatives.
He said: “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.
“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, did not. 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 to help others.”
Witnesses have told how the Islamic terrorists stormed the roof, firing at gas cylinders in a bid to cause maximum casualties.
Described as “dynamic, enterprising, hard working”, Mitul Shah had climbed the ranks of the company, playing “a pivotal role” in helping Bidco become the largest and fastest growing manufacturer of vegetable oils, margarine and animal feeds in east, central and southern Africa, Mr Shah said.
A Manchester United fan who loved cooking, he spearheaded the company’s move into social media and also took part in numerous endurance races and scaling Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya.
He was also chairman of Bidco’s football team. “He lived life to the fullest. He was a very positive person, full of joy, full of laughter,” Mr Shah said. “We are all grieving and he will be missed widely.”
Colleagues are being offered counselling, while many have taken to the internet to post tributes to their team leader. One friend, named Alkane, said: “He is a real hero and had an option to run away but he opted to become a saviour of kids.
“This says it all about Mitul. I salute him for his decision. I am very much thankful to God that I had an opportunity to spend time with such great soul.”
Roberts Libosso, a colleague, said: “He touched every one of us through his warm affection and sensitivity coupled with brilliant leadership skills. Mr Shah was a born leader.”
Another friend, Sarah Njeru, wrote: “I cannot even begin to describe the loss, the sadness, the love, the hole in our heart. I want to see my office extension screen say ‘Mitul calling’ but I can’t. We will forever cherish you. Rest in peace boss.”
A total of 61 people remain missing, presumed buried under the rubble of the mall, sparking fears the official death toll of 67 people – including five Britons – could rise.
An international team of investigators is now helping Kenyan authorities identify victims and suspects.
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Cyclist in Russia narrowly misses being hit by car and lorry
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 What are your fingerprint words?
- 5 Gary Lineker involved in Twitter row after presenter rubbishes claims he will be warned by BBC over foul-mouthed tweets
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Jennifer Lawrence: Leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by users
Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked next, threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...
£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...