TORONTO – Canadian teenagerFardowsa Abdi is flying home Sunday, a week after the terrorist siege on a Nairobi mall which left her with a critical grenade injury to her leg that continues to plague the 17-year-old.
Kenyan doctors worked to reconstruct Abdi’s leg for eight hours last Tuesday, but now say they are unable to do any more for her. In order to save her leg Abdi is urgently returning to Canada for advanced medical care.
“She is going home tomorrow, yay. Thank you very much,” Abdi’s aunt Kissa Hassan told Global News via text.
Abdi will be flown by air ambulance and costs may be covered by the Distressed Canadian Fund, sources in Ottawa told Global News.
Abdi and her 16-year-old sister Dheeman were injured in the al-Shabab attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, on Sept. 21, that left at least 67 dead.
Fardowsa laid bleeding on the floor of the shopping centre for two hours after members of the Somali-based militant group lobbed grenades and opened fired on civilians, the girls’ aunt said in an earlier interview.
“They thought Fardowsa died. They weren’t taking dead bodies out at first, so they left her there for about two hours. That’s why she bled out and she’s been getting blood transfusions ever since. They finally stabilized her, but they still cannot do anything about the wounds,” she told Global News earlier this week.
“She has multiple areas where the flesh is actually missing and you can see the bone,” said Hassan.
Watch: Kissa Hassan describes her niece’s injuries and explains the next steps family is hoping to take.
Dheeman, who suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, is now walking and recovering well.
“The grenade thrown at my finger was actually directed at her and it went off on her lower leg,” said Dheeman on Thursday. “Her tibia is shattered and she has a lot of other fragments, huge pieces actually, all over her leg and stuff.”
The attack was purportedly in retaliation for Kenya’s involvement in Somalian government operations to drive out al-Shabab.
Early reports suggested the attackers only planned to target non-Muslims during the siege and told Muslims to leave the mall, but Dheeman Abdi said that wasn’t the case.
“I don’t think there was any religion sparing. I think the people who did this, just did it to cause bloodshed, to cause mayhem,” she said, adding they were both wearing hijabs at the time of the attack. “A lot of people died in front of me who were saying ‘La ilaha illallah — there is no God but Allah'”
Foreign Affairs and Consular Services says they are assisting the family in their effort to bring Abdi home for treatment.
“Canadian officials are working with the young woman’s family and local officials in Nairobi and Canada to facilitate her safe return to Canada,” said spokespersons Adria Minsky, “Due to privacy and operational concerns, we cannot share specific details about this matter.”
The Toronto-born sisters moved to Nairobi four years ago with their parents Ahmed and Sugra Abdi.
WATCH: ‘A lot of people died in front of me,’ Dheeman describes the Nairobi attack.
The Associated Press reported Kenyan forces caused the roof the collapse of the Westgate Mall car park, possibly burying hostages under the rubble.
It’s unclear how many people may be buried underneath the rubble, but the Red Cross reports 61 people remain missing.
With files from Stuart Greer
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