Waterloo woman loses family member in Nairobi mall attack
Pragna Gohil plans to pay tribute to her second cousin Rajan Solankin a candlelight vigil
Pragna Gohil is looking for closure.
Her 24-year-old second-cousin was taken from her family suddenly and violently when Islamic militants stormed a Nairobi shopping mall known for its Western-style shops and began slaughtering men, women and children in a brutal assault that shocked Kenya and the world.
Rajan Solkani is described as a friendly, funny and jolly person who always had a smile on his face and often cheered others up.
"This is the type of person Rajan was and he was taken from us in this horrible tragedy," Pragna Gohil told The Morning Edition host Craig Norris Thursday.
Solanki killed protecting children
Gohil said Solanki, who had a life-long love of cooking, was at the mall for a three-day cooking event for children when the bloody assault by Islamic militants began.
"Because he was surrounded by a lot of young kids, he was trying to help the kids," she said. Solanki, who was engaged to be married, was shot several times while using his own body as a shield to protect innocent children from the militants' bullets.
Gohil said she plans to attend a service at Sai Bhaki Dham temple, followed by a candlelight vigil in the Bleams and Strasburg area of Kitchener in order to pay tribute to Solanki and other victims of the mall attack.
"Let's pray together, let's make the world stronger and let's put these terrorists away," she said.
Kenya trip planned for November
Gohil said she plans on visiting the now bullet scarred Westgate Mall in November, the site where Solanki and 66 others died in a hail of gunfire and grenades from militants.
"I like to go and [pay] my respect for the victims and the family," she said.
"It's just really touchy and I want to go see what happened, just to be there and feel what was going on in the mind of Rajan and all the victims when all these shootings were going on for four days," she said.
Meanwhile, forensic investigators will scour the battle-worn grounds of the upscale shopping centre in order to determine the nationalities and identities of the victims and militants who attacked the mall.