Former Stony Brook University instructor Kofi Awoonor among victims of Kenya mall attack

According to officials, African poet Kofi Awoonor taught literature at Stony Brook University in the 70s.

Kenya mall attack victim Kofi Awoonor taught at Stony Brook University in the 1970s.

Kenya mall attack victim Kofi Awoonor taught at Stony Brook University in the 1970s. (9/23/13)

STONY BROOK - A former Stony Brook University writing instructor is among at least 62 people who have been killed in the ongoing terrorist siege at an upscale mall in Kenya.

Kofi Awoonor taught at the university in the 1970s, until he took a sabbatical in 1971 and returned to his native Ghana. Not long after, he was arrested there, and the Long Island Chapter of Amnesty International came to his aid.

Awoonor had been accused of harboring a dissident by the military dictatorship in power at the time. Arthur Dobrin, a co-founding member of the Long Island branch of Amnesty International, says getting Awoonor released was one of the group's first missions.

Those who knew him say he was a poet and a promoter of peace who ironically died in a terror attack. He had been shopping at the mall with his son, who survived the attack.

Kenyan officials say security forces are now in control of nearly all of the upscale mall.

Earlier today, four explosions were heard coming from the mall, followed by volleys of gunfire, and then a dark plume of smoke was visible from the complex. Kenya's interior minister says militants had set fire to mattresses in a supermarket within the mall, but the fire is under control.

Officials in Kenya say they are "very certain" that few, if any, hostages remain in the mall as the siege continues.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Top 5 Must See

Police say three people were taken to the 1 Police: Multivehicle crash shuts down westbound LIE
Charles Bottitta, who lives on Hawkins Road, says 2 Brookhaven Highway Dept. accused of targeted harassment
The Homeland Security Department released memos outlining plans 3 DACA program in-tact while LI schools struggle for funds
Long Islanders are showing love for Makenzie Cadmus, 4 'Butterfly baby' Makenzie Cadmus turns 1
On Monday, there were 11 phoned-in bomb threats 5 FBI probes threats targeting Jewish Community Centers

advertisement | advertise on News 12

More News

Authorities say 68 people have been killed and At least 68 killed in Kenyan mall attack

Authorities say 68 people have been killed and 175 have been injured in Kenya after

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.