Member of local church survives hostage situation in Kenya - WNEM TV 5

Member of local church survives hostage situation in Kenya

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MARIETTA, GA (CBS46) -

The congregation of the Kenyan-American Community Church in Marietta prayed on Sunday for the victims of the terrorist attack in their homeland, one of whom is one of their own church members.

"We have personal friends that we know that have escaped. We also have members of the congregation who have lost their lives," said the Rev. G.G. Gitahi of the Kenyan-American Community Church.

Dorcas Mwangi, 20, was in the mall in Nairobi when the attacked occurred. She was able to escape unharmed. CBS Atlanta spoke with her from Kenya by phone.

"It was crazy because everyone was running. People's faces were full of shock and horror. There's screaming," said Mwangi. "It was quite obvious from the start that those gunshots happened, it was evident that this was not a robbery. It was pretty evident this was big."

She said she ran to a stairwell where she and another woman found safety behind suitcases.

"At first I was scared. I was shaking," said Mwangi.

She said what kept her calm was family members texting her information from the news and letting her know what was going on.

Mwangi said inside she heard terrorists asking the hostages to recite a Muslim prayer. She said if they could not, they were shot.

"My brother sent me the Muslim Shahad prayer to memorize," said Mwangi.

She said she spent four hours hidden behind the suitcases. Mwangi said the terrorists did not spot her and she was able to escape. 

"I didn't see them come my way and I'd like to think it's because of the faith I have in my religion," said Mwangi.

She said her father texted her to let her know police officers were at the mall. She and several others were able to get to officers who escorted the group out of the building.

Mwangi attends school in the United Kingdom and will head back in a few weeks.

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