Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

VICTIMS OF THE TERROR SIEGE; BRITON AND PREGNANT GIRLFRIEND KILLED IN MALL MASSACRE; Gun Battle Rages as Kenyan Troops Close in on Terrorists

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

VICTIMS OF THE TERROR SIEGE; BRITON AND PREGNANT GIRLFRIEND KILLED IN MALL MASSACRE; Gun Battle Rages as Kenyan Troops Close in on Terrorists

Article excerpt

Byline: Martin Bentham and Benedict Moore-Bridger

BRITISH architect Ross Langdon and his girlfriend Elif Yavuz who was due to give birth in two weeks were today named as two victims of the Kenyan shopping mall massacre.

Heavy gunfire was heard inside the Westgate complex in the capital Nairobi as security forces launched a new assault to free hostages still held inside.

Mr Langdon, 32, who had dual nationality with Australia, and Ms Yavuz, 33, are among up to 69 people killed when around 15 terrorists linked to al Qaeda stormed the building on Saturday. Armed with AK-47s and grenades they slaughtered shoppers as they fled in scenes of mass panic. More than 1,000 people were inside Westgate when the killings began. A children's cookery competition was being held. Three other Britons, so far unnamed, are also known to have died, although the Foreign Office has warned that the total could rise.

Whitehall sources said that it was "entirely credible" that British terrorists were among those responsible for the attack as Kenyan troops and police began a new operation to free the remaining hostages. Islamist extremists from the Somalia-based al Shabab group are thought to be holding out inside.

Some experts suggested that Kenyan forces could face a prolonged struggle to end the siege because of the complicated layout of the five storey building. An al Shabab spokesman warned that all remaining hostages would be killed if the Kenyan assault continued.

David Cameron cut short a trip to Balmoral to host a Downing Street meeting of the Government's emergency committee Cobra at which he was briefed by MI5 and other intelligence chiefs about the possible involvement of British extremists. A Twitter account, reportedly used by al Shabab, has claimed that "white widow" Samantha Lewthwaite, the wife of 7/7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay, is among those taking part.

It also named two Londoners, Liban Adam, 23, and Ahmed Nasir Shirdoon, 24, as taking part in the attack.

Mr Langdon's friends and family said they were "profoundly saddened" at his death and revealed that the architect and his girlfriend had been looking forward to settling permanently in Kenya.

His business partner Ben Milbourne told the Standard: "It has been a hard day. I've been in touch with Ross's family and they are profoundly saddened. "Ross touched many people. (He was) a very dear friend and colleague, incredibly talented and dedicated to his work in assisting developing communities and conservation of endangered species. He will be missed and the family has our deepest condolence."

Mr Langdon, was a founding director of prize-winning architecture firm Regional Associates, which has offices in London and Melbourne, and had moved to East Africa four years ago to work on a number of projects. …

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