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Couple in town from Kenya recalls Westgate Mall shooting

11:03 PM, Oct 13, 2013   |    comments
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People light candles during a 24-hour prayer vigil for the victims of the Westgate Mall massacre near the mall in Nairobi on September 28, 2013. Kenyan and foreign forensics teams scoured the wreckage of a Nairobi shopping mall for bodies and clues after a four-day siege by Islamist gunmen left 67 dead and dozens more missing. AFP PHOTO/CARL DE SOUZA (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's been three weeks since a group of terrorists took over an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya and killed over 60 people. 

A Texas couple doing missionary work in Nairobi remember the four-day attack.

Don and Becky Cameron are visiting friends in Jacksonville near the St. Johns Town Center mall. They say the area is very similar to the gated residential community they live in; one that is close to the Westgate Mall.

"U.S. citizens advised to shelter in place on Sunday. Avoid Westgate and large public gatherings. Stay tuned to local media," said Don Cameron as he read a text message he received from the U.S. Embassy on September 21.

"We've taken friends to Westgate, taken our children to Westgate, I remember very distinctly cause I like to do this; on the ground floor there's a little coffee shop. We could sit there and drink our coffee and we could watch people going up and down the escalators," said Cameron.

The Westgate Mall was taken over by terrorists who shot and killed dozens of internationals and injured over a hundred. It was a four day hostage situation and one that Becky says has changed life for many in Nairobi.

"A lot of people said that they would not go back even if it [Westgate Mall] opens," said Cameron.

It made the Camerons question whether to come back to the states and go back home to Texas. But their mission in Kenya is ongoing.

"First we made a three-month commitment, then a two year commitment, and now we don't know," said Cameron.

The Camerons do humanitarian work through their ministry Burning Plow. 

They go into residential areas and help paraplegics, children with disabilities, and really try to improve as many lives as they can. The Westgate shooting has made them question their safety, but they say the work they're doing is too great to give up. 

"We were called to go and its just we're not done yet," said Cameron.

The Camerons say there are many missionaries from the U.S. in Kenya and in Jacksonville. Martin Kabaki is a native Kenyan who has started a memorial fund to help families affected after the Westgate Shooting.

First Coast News

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