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Bill Clinton's staffer killed in Westgate attack

25 September 2013, 14:57

New York - Former US president Bill Clinton on Tuesday paid tribute to a "brilliant" young Harvard graduate working for his global foundation who was gunned down in the Westgate mall massacre.

Dutch-born Elif Yavuz, who was heavily pregnant and due to give birth very soon, was killed along with her Australian-British architect husband Ross Langdon as Islamist gunmen stormed a Nairobi shopping mall.

Clinton told CBS radio that Yavuz had been working on a health access program run by his Clinton Foundation to help get AIDS and malaria drugs around Africa.

"She actually worked in Tanzania. And I saw her just a couple weeks ago in Dar Es Salaam when I was there, but she was pregnant, just a couple of weeks away from delivery," Clinton said.

"She and her baby's father were walking in that mall in Nairobi, because she wanted to have the baby in Kenya. She thought that would be best. And they were both killed."

The former US president also paid an emotional tribute to Yavuz as he addressed the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York on Tuesday, having to choke back tears.

"Elif devoted her life to helping others, particularly people in developing countries suffering from malaria and HIV/AIDS," Clinton wrote in a separate statement on the foundation's website.

"Elif was brilliant, dedicated, and deeply admired by her colleagues, who will miss her terribly."

Langdon, a specialist in socially sustainable tourism infrastructure in environmentally sensitive locations, grew up in Tasmania but worked on projects around the world, including in London, Sydney, Norway, Uganda and Rwanda.

Friends said he donated much of his time in Africa.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Tuesday that the four-day siege of the mall was over, with the loss of 67 lives.

"Our losses are immense," he added, announcing three days of national mourning.

He said five attackers had also been killed and 11 suspects were in custody.



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