A few minutes ago we received a call from a Gift of the Givers Volunteer who was caught up in the shooting in Mali. This was his communication:
"Hello doctor. This is ....(name not to be announced as yet). Thank you for your interest in our well being. We are fine now. We have been moved to a hotel in the capital Bamako and are under security protection. We haven't been briefed as yet as to what's going to happen next. We are not sure whether we going home or not. We are nine South Africans in Mali but were in different parts of Mali when the incident happened. Only three of us were in the hotel where the shootout took place. Two of us survived. Jaco didn't make it. We are still waiting for them to move his remains to Bamako and get papers so he can be moved to his family in South Africa. We have no idea what's going on for now.
The experience was terrible, frightening and traumatizing. We thought that we were definitely going to die. We prayed the whole night like never before. They just rushed into the hotel and started shooting indiscriminately. It's a small hotel. There were only 16 of us staying here but some were outside before the shooting and some managed to escape when the shooting started. The rest of us were trapped. We rushed into our rooms, locked our doors, ducked and prayed like never before. They shot repeatedly at our door and tried to break through. They even tried burning it and were firing through the walls. Nobody was coming to rescue us. The shooting continued for twenty hours. We were sending messages for people to come and save us. We were sitting ducks caught in the crossfire. We don't know who was shooting at who. It was the most terrifying experience of our lives. Earlier they dragged one of the occupants from his room and shot him. It seems they wanted to make a point. We were hiding and praying...."
They were rescued twenty hours later and are now in Bamako. He sent pictures and sound bites of the shooting that he recorded whilst hiding in the bathroom. Truly frightening. May the Almighty be with them all.