Nairobi attack: Lynsey Khatau tells of being shot at

Lynsey Khatau was nearly shot as she tried to enter the mall in Kenya's capital

A mother has told how she was shot at and almost killed as suspected al-Shabab militants stormed the Nairobi shopping centre.

Lynsey Khatau, 23, who lives in south Wales and Kenya, said her family was targeted at the Westgate mall in Saturday's attack.

Mrs Khatau, with her husband and four-year-old son Caiz, said the gunman missed her and killed a man behind her.

At least 65 people have been killed including six British nationals.

Mrs Khatau, whose moved to East Africa with her husband Max who was deported from the UK in 2009, told BBC Wales: "When they shot at me, my son saw a man get shot instead of me, so I was lucky not to get shot.

"My son is completely traumatised, he cannot sleep and even if he does sleep he wakes up crying 'they're shooting at my daddy' so it's very difficult at the moment."

Security officers cross cordon on 23 September 2013 Kenyan security forces say they have now regained control after the stand-off

The family were at the mall as a treat for Caiz when suspected Islamist al-Shabab militants attacked.

"On a Saturday my husband usually works but it just so happens that this Saturday he was given the day off so we just decided to take our son to go and play and spoil him a bit at the shopping centre," she said.

"They have a play area for the children and we had to pick up some groceries."

Mrs Khautau recalled how she walked into the centre, entering a local supermarket and within seconds, the electricity went down.

"Usually in Kenya the electricity always goes off but they have generators that come on a few seconds after the lights have gone off," she said.

They did not come back on.

"The first thing that happened was a grenade going off under a car or something outside," she said.

Sue Mathias, mother of survivor Lynsey: 'I kept thinking, it could have been her, it could have been the baby'

"That was the first thing that we heard. Then there was shooting, maybe 20 rounds, in less than a minute.

"We came out... I just ran, we just ran out.

"When we came out the supermarket they were already inside the mall and we just ran. They were already shooting inside."

Mrs Khautau then recalls how she was shot at but that the bullet missed her and hit a man who was standing behind her.

"It was really horrific. My son is really traumatised," she added.

"The only thing I was thinking is 'we're going to die'. There were people just falling everywhere."

Start Quote

"It's been hard, really hard. I've not been able to sleep because we're not far from there and the helicopters were hovering constantly”

End Quote Lynsey Khautau

Mrs Khatau said her neighbourhood - just five miles from the shopping centre - was "united and pretty sad".

She added that she was keen to return to Wales, where she splits her time between Pontllanfraith, near Blackwood in Caerphilly county, and Nairobi.

"It's been hard, really hard. I've not been able to sleep because we're not far from there and the helicopters were hovering constantly," she said.

"We can hear the gun fires and the explosions, so we're not really in the environment where we can recover properly."

In the UK Mrs Khatau's mother, Suzanne Mathias, who lives near Caerphilly, said: "I know they're safe but you still think about 'what if'.

"I'm just glad she was on the bottom floor of the mall where there was an exit to go to the car park because if she had been on any of the other floors she wouldn't have made it because there wasn't any exits on the other floors."

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