“It seemed kind of like anywhere you’d look, there was another body,” said Tyler Hicks, a New York times photographer
known for working in war zones.
Hicks just happened to be close to the scene at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. Armed only with a small camera, he immediately made his way over there and persuaded officers to allow him to embed on the assault into the mall.
He described truly surreal scenes of war brought to an upscale mall during an appearance on Up With Chris Hayes last night on MSNBC.
“People were still hiding in shops, as the police or army was moving through,” said Hicks.
“You’d get kind of moments of silence and then other moments big streams of people they [police] were trying to get out as quickly as possible,” he said.
“In one sense it seemed kind of abandoned, the music that plays in a shopping mall, that typical kind of music, was still playing on the intercom, so it was this eerie silence with this music interrupted occasionally by gunfire, terrified people were crying, screaming, just running for their lives really.”
“I never thought that I would encounter this type of tragedy in a public place like this, where innocent civilians are gunned down and murdered,” he said. “It’s not like a conventional war where you expect combatants to get hurt or you expect collateral damage in those kind of places.”
“This was just a suicide mission and murder,” said Hicks.
Later, The Nation journalist Jeremy Scahill — arguably one of the foremost experts on Al Qaeda, Islamic militants, and U.S. special operations — gave Hayes a breakdown of the perpetrators of the attacks, al Shabab, and their affiliation with al Qaeda.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.