bendita malakiaAn Elizabeth City, NC woman, Bendita Malakia, was among the hundreds of people trapped in a mall in Nairobi, Kenya that came under siege over the weekend by an al-Qaida-linked militant group.

At least 68 people were killed and 175 injured in the two-day attack inside Westgate Mall by Somalia’s  al-Shabab, which claimed responsibility for the attack that specifically targeted non-Muslims, saying it was in retribution for Kenyan forces’ 2011 push into neighboring Somalia.

Bendita Malakia is thankful to be alive.

“You could hear them methodically kind of going from store to store talking to people, asking questions, shooting (and then hearing screams),” Malakia said Sunday via Skype., “Then, it would stop for a while, and then, they would go to another store.”

The 30-year-old moved from Elizabeth City to Nairobi in July to work for a financial company.

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