The Non Resident Gujaratis (NRGs) in Kenya mourned death of as many as eight members of the community, while 25 remained missing, as Nairobi descended into an unsettling somberness on Wednesday.
The whereabouts of 64 Kenyans, including 25 of Gujarati origin, remains a mystery, said members of the community. Multiple prayer services and cremations were held across the Kenyan capital for the deceased.
A day after Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta declared the 90-hour siege at Westgate Mall over, and five terrorists killed and 11 others arrested, a three-day mourning was announced across Kenya, while families of the missing kept trying to locate their kin.
“The families of Nehal Vekhariya (16) and others from the community have already held their funeral services. My brothers, Ashwin and Ritesh, have been attending cremations of the victims in Karyako Hindu Shamshan Bhumi (in Nairobi),” said Jayanti Kerai, a Nairobi-based Kutchi Leuva Patel, who landed here a few days before the attacks.
The families are still looking for 25 persons missing since the attacks. “Many of the victims’ bodies recovered in past 24 hours are beyond recognition and have been sent for funeral or interment by authorities.”
The Nairobi-based news agencies have reported at least five unidentified bodies being interred at Ismailia cemetery.
The former president of Hindu Council of Africa (HCA), Mulji Pindolia, confirmed that an alarming number of people are still missing. “No new names of Gujarati victims have emerged since Tuesday. Many survivors were hurriedly moved to one of the many hospitals here. It is unclear as to how many Gujaratis have been rescued,” said Pindolia from Nairobi.
Various NRG groups in the Kenyan capital held prayer services for the deceased and victims of the attack. “I’m just about to enter the prayer service by HCA to mourn loss of our community members in the attack. Hundreds of people are expected to join us at the meet on Wednesday,” said Rajni Patel, a senior member of the body, over telephone.
Chairman of Visa Oswal College in Nairobi, Jitesh Shah, said at least four students from the community’s school have been killed a memorial service for whom was held on Tuesday. Many bodies were yet to be identified, he added.
Many other NRG leaders remained unavailable for comment, citing attendance at a funeral or cremation as the reason.