A police officer caught up in the Westgate siege shot one of the terrorists, a trial court heard on Friday.
Mr Ali Miraj, and administration police officer was part of a team sent to the mall to collect cash for transit from a Safaricom shop and engaged the attackers in combat for two and a half hours before running out of ammunition.
He was in the company of his colleague, Mr Wilfred Kavati, on the building’s first floor, the officer said.
The two police officers told the court they fought four armed terrorists before escaping through a lift.
“I first saw two armed men approach the first floor by taking the escalator and mistook them for plainclothes police officers as they wore bullet proof vests and slung ammunition across their chests. They were all armed with AK 47 rifles,” Mr Miraj said.
Mr Miraj said, at first he was careful not open fire as he thought he may kill a police officer. “I thought they were officers from the GSU Recce squad but from their reaction I knew they were not good people,” he said.
“I took cover behind a pillar and began shooting back. My colleague Kavati was two pillars away from me, we managed to repulse the two before another two appeared from an upper floor and started shooting at us,” Mr Miraj said.
During the first round of shooting, the officer told the court he shot one of the terrorists in the leg but the man quickly limped away. The wounded terrorist’s accomplices then appeared from the upper floor and hurled a grenade.
“I saw the man I shot limp away…I knew I had injured him on the leg, he was the one who was trying to get to the first floor using the escalator, both men retreated and hid away from us, ” Mr Miraj said.
He said the shooting subsided for about ten minutes before two other terrorists emerged from above them. “They were not the ones were had kept away from the escalator,” he said.
The terrorists on the upper floors threw a grenade at the officers but missed. “We used the lift to escape and went out through a back exit to the loading zone where our vehicle had been parked.” Mr Miraj said.
He said they met two other armed police officers, a whiteman and an Asian in plainclothes who were armed with pistols trying to rescue civilians.
The trial court will visit the scene of crime on Tuesday January 21. Hearing continues on January 27-28.-nation.co.ke