ONLY ON 3: Kenyan mall attacks close to home for man with Wilmington ties

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — This weekend’s mall massacre in Kenya hits close to home for a man with Wilmington connections.

Bill Coble’s parents and brother live here. Coble has spent the past several years doing humanitarian projects in Kenya and visited the mall last week.

“I was there one week ago prior to the attacks sitting in the exact place where the attacks started,” Coble told WWAY during a phone interview today. “We had good friends that are american that were there one day before.”

Coble is the founder of Start with One Kenya, which is a non-profit organization that provides clean water to rural areas of the country.

Coble now lives in Kenya, but was not in Nairobi on the day of the attacks that killed 68 people.

“It’s as close to being home for me as anything here in Kenya. It is a modern mall with nice shops,” Coble said.

Last year I traveled to Kenya and spent time with Coble and his team and even experienced the security check points at local shopping centers.

“The way it is built, there is very limited access, which is probably why it was a target, because you can only get into the mall from three different locations, so once you are in it’s hard to get out,” he said.

Coble says he and his team are in contact with the US State Department. He says he continues to follow the events as they unfold, but that these most recent attacks won’t affect his mission.

“Do I fear for my life? No. Am I a little more vigilant? Yes, absolutely,” Coble said.

Coble and his wife will remain in Kenya for the next few months. They hope to return to Wilmington before the end of the year.

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