A former mayor of Aylesbury says she is in disbelief after her uncle was shot in the chest by terrorists in Kenya.
Ranjula Takodra hails from the East African country and lived in Nairobi as a teenager, regularly returning to visit her family who still live in the capital city.
She said her mother’s brother, Manu Vadolia, who is in his late 50s, was one of the first people to be shot by the terrorists on Saturday as he was in his car outside the Westgate shopping centre.
“He was stuck in traffic right outside the entrance,” said the Walton Court and Hawkslade councillor.
“Some guy had a machine gun and shot all the cars in a line and my uncle’s car happened to be one of them.
“He got hit near the heart and just managed to call my aunty to tell her what happened.
“He collapsed after that and got taken to hospital, then these guys (the terrorists) have gone inside the shopping centre.
Mrs Takodra said her family thinks her uncle may have actually been planning to go inside Westgate.
“My niece told me that sometimes he goes in there as he does handy work for them. Maybe he was heading there to visit somebody.”
She said her uncle, who has visited Mrs Takodra in Aylesbury on several occasions, is now in a stable condition in hospital.
“I am just hoping he will be all right.
“It is extremely frightening for everyone, it’s been extremely traumatic. The situation is really tense.
“My sister has been to visit my uncle in hospital and said it was heartbreaking to see everybody there.”
Mrs Takodra knows Westgate well, shopping there whenever she visits Nairobi.
“There’s something for everybody.
“If you go to London you go to Westfield or Brent Cross and in Nairobi everybody goes there. It is a really lovely place.
“It has a market right on the rooftop and I like to go there to buy ornaments and presents for people. There is a lovely coffee area for people too.”
“I understand from my niece that there was a cookery competition going on for young people (at the time the terrorists stormed the building).
“It is just awful to think they were in there, how they would have felt.
“It is a nightmare, it makes my skin crawl.
“When it happens to you or your family you feel it but my heart goes out to anybody going through this trauma.”
She said the linking of Aylesbury ‘white widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite to the atrocity was the ‘last thing we want’.