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Tributes pour in for SA man killed in Kenya

James Thomas was among those killed in a terrorist attack at Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

People flee during the terror attacks in Nairobi. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - A man who worked with James Thomas, who was killed in the terrorist attacks in Nairobi over the weekend, described him as someone who pushed boundaries.

At least 60 people lost their lives when Somali militant group al-Shabaab stormed the Westgate Mall on Saturday and opened fire on those who were inside.

The group justified the incident as a revenge attack due to Kenya's activity in Somalia.

They accuse the Kenyan army of killing Muslims in their country.

A man named John, told The Redi Tlhabi Show on Talk Radio 702 and 567 CapeTalk that he worked with Thomas in the 1990s.

"James had a huge impact in my life 15 years ago. I haven't seen him for a long time and I was looking forward to seeing him one day and reflecting on what we've done with our lives."

He said he wanted to celebrate Thomas's life.

"Let's remember him for what he's left behind. He was someone who pushed boundaries."

He also described Somalia as a society whose social fabric has been shredded and devastated by the ongoing conflict which dates back to generations.

Meanwhile, Reuters photographer Noor Khamis, who took the picture of a woman who was injured in the attack, described the day as extremely sad.

"It was an extremely sad day and extremely dangerous. The area where I got the lady, we had to go undercover with armed soldiers to get to that particular point, which was behind the building. On getting there, it was a total massacre. I think almost 40 people were lying on the ground and others were injured."

"Kenya has been visited by terrorism attacks several times and through experience I wanted to show something that is soft in a way. If you look at the woman she doesn't have any facial injuries, but there's dry blood on her face and of course she was crying for help. At that particular moment it was total chaos."

At the same time, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed to deal with those responsible for the attacks.

He described the attack as "despicable and beastly".

HOSTAGES

It remains unclear how many people are still trapped inside the mall as the standoff between the attackers and Kenyan security forces continues.

Al-Shabaab has vowed to kill hostages if force is used.

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