A British sales chief, Mitul Shah, died trying to save children at the start of the Nairobi shopping mall attack, offering himself as a hostage, it has emerged.
Friends and colleagues paid tribute to him after his bravery gave some of the victims time to escape from al-Shabaab gunmen, although he was gunned down with a number of children during the siege.
Mr Shah’s heroism comes to light after Kenyan authorities said they were holding eight people in connection with the attack, while three others were released after questioning.
His employers, the cooking oil company Bidco Oil, and his work colleagues hailed Mr Shah as a “born leader and an inspiring soul love by one and all”.
Mr Shah, 38, who was born in north London, held dual British and Kenyan citizenship. After going to school in Kenya, he studied management science with computing at Kent University in Canterbury, Kent and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree.
He then joined Bidco Oil Refineries in Kenya as a management trainee and worked his way up to become a team leader in the marketing department.
Mr Shah, who leaves a widow, Rupal, and one-year-old daughter Sarai, was killed moments after he was helping 33 children taking part in a TV cooking contest on the roof of the Westgate centre in Nairobi. The event was being sponsored by his company.
One of the directors of Bidco, Dipak Shah, told the Evening Standard: “He was trying to negotiate the freedom of the children in order for him to be taken as a hostage.
“Some had managed to save their lives, but unfortunately he, and others, did not.
“It was a heroic and brave act – a true reflection of his soul. He was a wonderful person who always went out of his way, beyond the call of duty, to help others.”
He said that, like his family, everyone at the company was grieving his death.
“We are anguished and shell-shocked at the turn of events. The tragic loss of our colleague and brother has created a vacuum in our heart as much as it has in our organisation.
“All employees who have known him for long and short periods concur that he was an immensely effective leader, easy to get along with — on a personal level, very caring and concerned and on a professional level, highly dedicated and motivated. see more..