Listening to intermittent gunfire and hearing how victims were dragged out of the Byblos Hotel in Sévaré in Mali after being shot by enraged gunmen during last Friday morning’s terror attack at the establishment, count among the recollections of a harrowing ordeal which Polokwane resident Neels Cronje managed to escape unharmed.
Speaking on an early morning attack that has attracted the attention of the international community, Cronje highlighted how he initially had become aware of AK-47 fire and a person continuously shouting “Allahu Akbar”.
With his colleagues he communicated via social media channel from their respective rooms in the hotel as the crossfire between the army and the attackers went on, he indicated in an email from Mali.
After several unsuccessful attempts by the gunmen to gain access to his room throughout the ongoing torment, he had realised in the early hours of the next morning that it was eventually his turn when the door was being broken down, he indicated.
“At that moment I knew it was all over. I continued praying that they should go away again and not come into the bathroom (where I was hiding).”
When he saw the barrel of a gun he had thought he was going to get shot or dragged out and first get tortured like some others, but hoped for a sudden death instead, he said.
The most precious words accompanied the appearance of someone in Police uniform shouting “We are here for you”. He was aware of the fact that God had given him another chance, Cronje remarked. However, one of his friends did not survive the attack.
“All glory to God, because only His hand allowed me to leave that hotel alive.”
Story: YOLANDE NEL