NAIROBI (Reuters) – As the sun set on an upmarket hotel complex in Nairobi, Serge Medic’s phone pinged with a message from his son: “Dad, are you OK?… Don’t do anything silly, please.”

FILE PHOTO: Serge Medic, the Swiss owner of a security company, helps to evacuate civilians at the scene where explosions and gunshots were heard at the Dusit hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya January 15, 2019. Picture taken January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo

Medic chuckled as he recounted the moment.

“It was 18:43. Too late.”

Three hours earlier, at least four gunmen and a suicide bomber had stormed 14 Riverside Drive, a leafy office, restaurant and hotel complex in the heart of Kenya’s capital, kicking off a 20-hour siege in which 21 people were killed.

At 3.39 p.m. (1339 GMT), Medic, the 56-year-old Swiss founder of a private security firm, was on his way home from work in a taxi when he saw injured people being carried along the side of the road.

At the same moment, a flurry of WhatsApp messages pinged on his phone from a group called “LFH (Licensed Firearm Holders) Kenya.”

 

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