Two Canadians hurt in Kenya mall attack named by aunt as teen sisters

Two teenage sisters from Toronto are among the dozens of people who were seriously injured in a terrorist attack on a Kenyan shopping mall, their aunt said Monday.

Fardosa Abdi, 17, and Dheeman Abdi, 16, were shopping with the family’s maid at a supermarket at the upscale Westgate mall Saturday in Nairobi when the violent assault began, their aunt Hodan Hassan said.

Hassan, speaking from her home in Minnesota, said her sister in Nairobi told her Fardosa is in critical condition after undergoing two surgeries for severe leg injuries, while Dheeman had a bullet break her leg and an explosion injure her arm. The maid wasn’t injured.

Fardosa is more seriously injured, likely from both a grenade explosion and bullets, Hassan said.

“One of her legs is severely damaged,” Hassan said. “The other one is broken in a couple places and she has lost a lot of blood…There’s two bullets in her legs and one of them hit the main artery on her thigh.”

Fardosa visited her aunt over the summer and made plans to study medicine either in Minnesota or at the University of Toronto, Hassan said.

“It’s really heart-wrecking to know that she may not be able to walk again because of the damage of what happened to her,” she said. “It’s beyond, I can’t even say hurtful, because it’s really beyond that right now.”

The mall was seized Saturday by members of al-Shabab — a Somali group linked to al-Qaida. More than 60 people were killed, including two Canadians. Officials have confirmed that diplomat Annemarie Desloges was killed and media reports and Facebook users have identified Vancouver businessman Naguib Damji as the other deceased Canadian victim.

Dozens more people were injured, including the two sisters from Toronto.

For now, Fardosa is heavily sedated and being given a lot of pain medication, Hassan said. But the aunt was able to speak over the phone with Dheeman, who is worried about her sister, as they are in two different hospitals.

“She’s in shock and kind of doesn’t know much of what happened,” Hassan said. “I spoke with her and the couple words she said is, ‘I’m fine and I just wish her well.'”

Hassan said her nieces are Canadian citizens who were born in Toronto but moved three years ago to Nairobi, where their father has a real estate business.

Al-Shabab — an extremist Islamic terrorist force that grew out of the anarchy that crippled Somalia after warlords ousted a longtime dictator in 1991 — said the attack was in retribution for Kenyan forces’ 2011 push into neighbouring Somalia.

— with files from The Associated Press

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