Kenyans living in South Korea gathered at the Bethany Methodist Church in Seoul on Saturday to mourn the 72 people killed in the Westgate shopping center terrorist attack in Nairobi.
About three dozen people gathered at the church to honor the victims of the attack, many from countries in Europe and Asia, and to support one another here, said Christine Kathurima-Lee, vice chair of the Kenyan Community in Korea, a Seoul-based expatriate group.
The KCK organized the prayer meeting. An estimated 400 Kenyans reside in South Korea.
|A Kenyan expatriate prays during a religious service organized on Saturday for the victims of the terrorist attack on the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi. (Philip Iglauer/The Korea Herald)|
“One of our goals in organizing this prayer meeting is to honor the lives lost, both Kenyans and Koreans,” Kathurima-Lee said. “One of the things that this tragedy demonstrated was how diverse a country Kenya is.”
Korean national Kang Moon-hee was among those killed when 10 to 15 gunmen from the al-Qaida-linked terrorist group Al Shabaab stormed the upscale shopping center in the Kenyan capital on Sept. 21.
The assailants shot shoppers indiscriminately, including women, children and the elderly, and battled security forces for four days. Some 200 others were injured.
“When I heard what happened I was immediately afraid for the children. I knew there are always children playing on toy cars in the children’s play zone inside the mall,” said Wilfred Odoyo, a software engineer working in Seoul.
“I recently visited the mall when I traveled to Kenya with some Korean friends in July.”
Odoyo said that now he feels somewhat concerned going to Itaewon.
“The terrorists attacked the Westgate shopping center because they knew many foreigners go there. They did it to get international attention. Terrorists could do the same thing by attacking Itaewon,” he said.
Following the terrorist attack, the Kenyan Embassy here opened a book of condolence. The book remains open for people to sign and leave messages. Those who wish to sign the book should make an appointment by calling the embassy at (02) 3785-2904 so that a staff person can be sure to greet visitors at the front door.
By Philip Iglauer (firstname.lastname@example.org)