Kenyans Pay Tribute to Selfless Six Cellulant Employees Killed By Islamic Militants at Dusit


Hundreds of mourners gathered to pay tribute to six men killed by Islamic millitants in Nairobi. The six were all employed by the same technology firm, Cellulant.

The company has praised their selflessness and bravery.

Somalia-based Islamist group al-Shabab said it carried out the attack.

Five militants, including a suicide bomber, stormed the luxury Dusit complex in the Westland’s district of the capital last Tuesday, killing at least 21 people and injuring dozens.

Elite police officers ended a 19-hour siege after killing all the attackers.

The company commended, Jeremiah Mbaria, Kelvin Gitonga, Ashford Kuria, Wilfred Kareithi, John Ndiritu, Denis Mwaniki for saving their colleagues while putting their lives at risk.

Sensing trouble Mr Mbaria and Mr Kuria – who were leading a team meeting – started helping their colleagues to evacuate the office.

Mr Mwaniki joined them as they guided staff out of Cellulant’s office on the fifth and sixth floor of the building.

The team managed to get 83 of the 100 colleagues out to safety through the emergency door, Cellulant said.

However, the militants noticed them and the remaining employees scattered in different directions.

Six sought refuge in a small room underneath the staircase on the first floor. The other 11 hid in two washrooms on the fifth floor.

But the armed men came to washrooms, spotted Mr Kuria and pulled him out and shot him dead, the company said.

The militants, who did not see the others hidden there, then made their way downstairs where six employees were hiding under the stairs.

Cellulant says they introduced themselves as al-Shabab militants before shooting five of them dead.

“One of our colleagues was miraculously unharmed. Jeremiah, Mike, John , Kelvin and Denis had shielded her into the back corner behind them, effectively removing her from sight,” the firm said.

Who were the Cellulant six?

Jeremiah Mbaria

Jeremiah Mbaria who was Head of Hub at CellulantImage copyrightCELLULANT

Cellant described him as a leader, a brother and a mentor to many.

“He guided his team with humility and corrected with humour. He loved God and everyone he came across, and always challenged his team to grow.”

He had just taken up a leadership role after his manager left the company late last year.

“He took on the responsibilities of leadership very gracefully and lead by example, working late to help his team meet their deadlines,” Cellulant said.

Kelvin Gitonga

Kelvin Gitonga who was Hub Engineer at Cellulant.Image copyrightCELLULANT

Passionate about his job, Mr Gitonga believed “technology would change the world”, the firm said.

It described him as “an intelligent and versatile engineer” with a thirst for knowledge and learning.

He single-handedly overhauled the product’s user interface making it easier and more friendly to use, the company said.

Ashford Kuria

Ashford Kuria who was Head of Product Development at Cellulant.Image copyrightCELLULANT

Fondly remembered by those at Cellutant as “the ultimate geek”, Mr Kuria had worked on all the company’s major products, and was part of the team that built the technology that supports Cellutant services.

He was also described as the company’s “unofficial documentarian”.

“If you wanted a photo from any event in the past 10 years – Ash would have had it,” Cellutant’s tribute said.

“His knowledge of everything about everything was hilarious,” it added.

“[Ashford] will be remembered best for his big smile, warm personality, his kindness [and] love to everyone – and most importantly his tenacity.”

Wilfred Kareithi

Wilfred Kareithi who was Implementation Engineer at CellulantImage copyrightCELLULANT

“Energetic” and “happy” was how Cellulant described Mr Kareithi, who started as an intern at the company but proved himself to be one of the best engineers.

He “never shied away” from taking on the most challenging of tasks, the firm said.

“He helped unconditionally, and always sought to mentor new staff members and share knowledge.”

He had been managing projects in Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Nigeria.

John Ndiritu

John Ndiritu who was Quality Assurance Tester at Cellulant.Image copyrightCELLULANT

“Just because it is not my job, doesn’t mean I can’t do it,” Mr Ndiritu was known to tell colleagues at Cellulant in need of help.

As a quality assurance tester “he was always willing to go the extra mile to help when called upon”, the company said in a statement on Twitter.

“Jovial, calm and best-known for his humour”, is how they summed up his personality.

He was part of the team members that worked on a mobile banking app for Ecobank, one of the leading banks in Africa.

The team “delivered the app in 86 days, four platforms, four languages in 33 countries in Africa”, Cellulant said.

Denis Mwaniki

Denis Mwaniki who was Head of Information Security at Cellulant.Image copyrightCELLULANT

The information security expert was described by his employer as a “curious explorer, strategic thinker, a gentleman and exemplary leader”.

He was also one of the best IT security experts in Africa, the company said.

Cellulant secured coveted information security certification thanks to Mr Mwankiki’s “intellect”, the firm said, adding that he would be remembered as “a calm and humble spirit”.

His work enabled the company to get certified to operate in almost any market in the world.