Five of the Six Cellulant Employees Died in the Toilets While Shielding Female Colleague From Bullets

Tuesday, January 15, 2019, was just like any archetype day for the Kenyan division of Cellulant, which occupies the first and fifth floors of the Cavendish Block on 14 Riverside Drive, just next to dusitD2 Hotel.

However, it was not full house that day. Fifty employees of the tech company were at a Nairobi hotel getting first aid training. Twenty other staff members, including Chief Executive Officer Ken Njoroge, were at an event in Zambia. The rest were in the office.

Earlier that morning, Ashford Kuria Maina, 31, Denis Munene Mwaniki, 29, Jeremiah Mathai Mbaria, 31, John Wanyaga Ndiritu, 29, Kelvin Kariuki Gitonga, 28, and Wilfred Kareithi Waihura, 23, had left their homes for work as usual.

At 3 in the afternoon, while the terrorist were making their way, Ashford & Jeremiah were running a team meeting. Denis was at his desk preparing to join them.

John & Kelvin were working on upgrading a key platform to increase capacity for customers. Wilfred had gone to the office to fix a customer issue.

At 3.06pm there was an explosion from the suicide bomber outside the Secret Garden restaurant, followed by rapid gunfire.

The team spread out on 5th & 6th floors, began to leave using the building’s emergency exit.

According to their CEO Ken Njoroge, Ashford, Dennis and Jeremiah & a couple of other leaders stayed behind to ensure they mobilized all staff members out of the building.

“Anyone who knew them would know we’re not surprised that their last act was to make sure everyone else was safe. About 83 people managed to leave the building.”

At this point, one terrorist noticed this exit and began shooting at the streams of people. They blocked any further exit from the building. 17 colleagues were effectively pinned down inside Cavendish block.

Six colleagues sought refuge in a small room underneath the staircases on the first floor exit. The other 11 ran upstairs and sought refuge in washrooms — two in the men’s, nine in the women’s.

The terrorists eventually made their way to the fifth floor washroom, pulled out Ashford and shot him fatally. They also eventually started shooting and coming downstairs, discovering the six in hiding.

“They spoke to them briefly, introduced themselves as Al- Shabaab and shot into the team, killing five. One colleagues was miraculously unharmed. Jeremiah, Mike,  John, Kelvin and Denis  shielded her into the back corner behind them, removing her from sight,” Njoroge said during an emotional memorial service for the six yesterday.

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