Kenyan mall seige hits home: 'I personally so far have lost three people'

Kenyan mall seige hits home: 'I personally so far have lost three people'

EUGENE, Ore. - Two years ago, Rebeccah Kithi was in the Westgate Mall shopping.

Now half a world away in Eugene, she can't fathom the trauma suffered by the victims and their families after terrorists seized the mall and the Kenyan government moved in.

"I personally so far have lost three people I know, family friends," said Rebeccah Kithi. "My friend lost two sons in between the ages of 22 and 26, and another lady friend of mine lost her only son.

"Sitting here, knowing that my child was inside there, or my mom was inside there, and you don't know whether they're alive or dead - you also try to imagine what they went through in the hands of those terrorists before they died."

Kithi suspects security is partially to blame.

"I remember when we were walking through the gates of the mall, we were being searched to go in," she said. "So you know, if these people rented a boutique for three good months, how can you tell me no one saw these things coming inside."

She said thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.

"I just wish I could be there with them," she said. "You know, to hold their hands this time, but it's too bad I cannot make it. I've been crying like when you turn on the news to watch, you just find yourself shedding tears, you know, just seeing what is happening."