Murwillumbah woman avoids Nairobi siege

Westgate shopping centre

Murwillumbah Catholics Martin and Christine O'Brien are still not sure what prompted their daughter Elizabeth to break her habit of having a coffee at Nairobi's Artcaffe in Westgate Mall last weekend, reports The Catholic Leader

"We're just grateful and relieved Elizabeth was having a coffee elsewhere when the attack happened," Mr O'Brien said.

"I believe it was the Holy Spirit at work," Mrs O'Brien said. The O'Brien's comments came after receiving news from Nairobi following reports terrorists had stormed the shopping mall they knew their daughter visited on September 21.

The terrorists, later identified as Al-Shabaab militants, threw grenades and fired on civilians, killing at least 85, wounding 205 and taking hostages. Tasmanian man Ross Langdon and his Netherlands-born partner Elif Yavuz, eight months pregnant, were among those killed. The militant group said the attack was in retaliation for Kenya's military intervention in Somalia.

The O'Brien's said last Sunday around 8am the anxiously-awaited email from their daughter saying "all was well" had arrived. Mr O'Brien, who returned from visiting his daughter, her husband Tim and their three children in Nairobi three weeks ago, said there had been no sense of security problems during his stay.

His daughter's family, formerly from Brisbane, have been working for the International Livestock Research Institute for the past 13 months and have a three-year contract.

FULL STORY Murwillumbah woman avoids Nairobi siege

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