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Inayat Kassam: Civilian gun holder who rescued victims at Westage swings to action in Dusit attack

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Gun in hand and no bullet-proof jacket, Inayat Kassam braved gunshots and blasts at 14 Riverside Drive that was attacked on Tuesday.

But this was not his first time facing terrorists head on.

Kassam participated in evacuating hostages at Westage Mall when it was attacked in 2013.

Speaking to Citizen TV last year during the fifth memorial of Westage attack, Kassam said his instincts drive him to respond to difficult situations.

Asked whether he ever thinks about his life and safety as he get to the risky scenes, an emotional Kassam said “yes I do, but the drive to rescue more lives is more”.

On Tuesday, Kassam was among the first responders at Riverside helping save hundreds of victims.

He is licensed gunholder, a firearms instructor, training people on how to hand rifles, especially for close-range shooting.

Kassam runs self-defence classes for individuals, security firms and corporate entities.

He is the only licensed rifle handling trainer in Africa outside South Africa.

As sounds of heavy blasts and gun fires at the Dusit hotel complex surged yesterday, Kassam could be seen charging into the building and coming out holding people rescued on one hand rushing them to safety and the other hand clenching a gun.

His shirt had some blood stains, from among the casualties he had been holding to rescue.

Terrorists stormed the complex near Chiromo campus of University of Nairobi, detonating heavy explosives and spraying bullets indiscriminately.

Al Qaeda offshoot Al Shabaab terror group claimed responsibility for the attack hours later. 

Unlike the Westgate hostage situation which lasted more than four days, the response to yesterday’s incident was more coordinated.

Read: Suicide bomber involved in Riverside attack

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