Swahili Village on Route 1 in Beltsville is a restaurant that serves East African cuisine, and Kenyan customers dining on their native food on Sunday were shocked to learn as many as 68 people were dead, and pleased to hear most of the hostages had been freed from the upscale Westgate Mall.
The extremist al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab Islamic group attacked the mall this weekend using grenades and assault rifles and held more than a thousand shoppers and retailers hostage.
On Sunday, Kenyan troops stormed the mall in a major assault, freeing about a thousand hostages.
Al-Shabab is fighting Kenyan and other African peacekeepers in Somalia.
At Swahili Village, customers expressed sadness about the killings. Many had been in touch with friends and relatives back in Kenya to make sure they were okay.
One diner said she felt the militants were targeting tourists because that’s mostly who shops at Westgate, along with wealthy Kenyans.
Restaurant owner Kevin Onyona said one customer had a relative who was killed in the siege. He himself is planning a business trip to Kenya next week, which he says he does not intend to cancel.
"I want to be able to live my life. I think if I postpone my trip, that they succeeded," he said.