Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

'Animals' killed my wife and child

Ross Langdon and his partner Elif Yavuz were victims of the terrorist attack on a shopping mall in Kenya (AP/AAP)
Ross Langdon and his partner Elif Yavuz were victims of the terrorist attack on a shopping mall in Kenya (AP/AAP)
Kenyan security forces walk back from the Westgate Mall as black smoke billows above (AP)
Paramedics run beside parked ambulances outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi (AP)
Kenyan security personnel and journalists duck behind a vehicle as heavy gunfire erupts from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi (AP)

The father of an eight-year-old British girl has told of the "heart stopping" moment he learned his daughter and wife had been killed by terrorists who laid seige to a shopping mall in Kenya.

Louis Bawa said daughter Jennah and his Kenyan-born wife Zahira were killed by "animals" who were using "religion as an excuse to kill people", in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

The three-day siege appears close to an end, as the Kenyan police force said it had regained control of the huge Westgate shopping mall, hours after it emerged more than 60 hostages had been killed.

Prime Minister David Cameron said it appeared at least six of the dead were British after returning from a Balmoral break with the Queen to chair a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee in Whitehall.

Mr Bawa, chief executive of a marketing company which counts Aston Martin Racing as its main client, said: "The last time I spoke to them was on Friday evening, I didn't get a chance to catch up with them on Saturday morning. They were going to Westgate to do what they always did, grocery shopping. This time they didn't come home.

"I don't know exactly what happened but it looks to me that they were gunned down ... they were just shot. The people who did this, they are vigilantes, they are animals. At the end of the day they are using religion as an excuse to kill people. They're saying that they were targeting certain people, but they were targeting anyone.

"Zahira and Jennah were Muslims, but these animals just shot them the same as all of the others. At first I was convinced that they would be OK. I had hope. Then on Sunday night there was a team that went in to bring out some bodies and they took photographs of other bodies.

"We all had to look at these pictures - something I would never want anyone to have to do - and identify them. That was how I knew. My heart just stopped, that was the last news in the world I wanted to hear. It's like nothing else, I can't fathom it, even now."

Also thought to be among the British victims was Ross Langdon, 33, an architect with dual British and Australian nationality who was shot dead with his pregnant girlfriend Elif Yavuz, a Dutchwoman educated at Harvard.

At 10pm, the Kenya Police force's official Twitter account reported: "We are in charge of the West Gate situation." Earlier, Mr Cameron said on Twitter: "I've just chaired a meeting of Cobra. Tragically the latest reports are that six British nationals have been killed in the Kenya terror attacks."

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