A FORMER Irish Army ranger has been hailed a hero after he helped save hundreds of terrified shoppers inside the Kenyan shopping mall that came under terrorist attack.
A close friend revealed last night that the ex-soldier was about to leave the Westgate mall when the attack began and he ran back inside with a former British soldier.
They were provided with guns by two Asian men and the four ran into an underground car park where they found over 200 shoppers and staff hiding behind parked trucks.
They brought the group up a ramp onto a street and then returned to the mall where they found another 100 terrified people.
The men also helped to bring them out of the mall.
But when the two ex-soldiers tried to gain access to the third floor, where some colleagues were based, they came under fire from the roof.
They returned fire and moved into a restaurant where others were in hiding.
After a further exchange of gunfire, they found another large group of shoppers and engaged with the gunmen again as they brought them to safety.
The close friend revealed: "They left no one behind.
"In escorting those people from the premises, they took more fire from the upper floor before escaping.
"This man then spent three hours using his paramedical training to help the injured, including people who had been shot or hit by hand grenade shrapnel, and then turned restaurant tables into temporary stretchers to shuttle them to safety.
"His skills saved the lives of many. Eye witness accounts say he did an extraordinary job," the friend added.
The former soldier spent several years in the Army Ranger Wing but prefers to remain anonymous.
He is from the midlands and is currently working as a consultant with an international company based in Africa.
He had been in Nairobi on business and was making a social visit to the mall when the shooting started.
His friend said he slipped out of the mall afterwards in blood-soaked jeans and T-shirt and "stayed out of the limelight, despite tweets and appeals on Facebook from people, who wanted to thank him for his efforts".