Nura and his two colleagues were having an early lunch of beef stew with chapati while the mechanic worked nearby when a call came through on the radio. “All units: Shooting going on at Westgate. Robbers inside.” Nura spoke on the phone to his commanding officer, who told him to get to the mall “and do whatever is necessary to handle it.” Nura left his plate of food on the table and jumped into the car. He was excited, eager even. As the unmarked squad car sped up the road, Nura hung out the window, waving his radio and shouting at drivers to move out of the way.
News of the assault was beginning to spread via frantic phones calls, texts, and WhatsApp messages. Westgate is in the heart of a Kenyan-Indian part of the city, and the close-knit community there knew better than to rely on the authorities to send help. Instead, the call went out to the community’s own licensed gun holders, who were organized into self-appointed armed neighborhood watch units.