Elif Yavuz, a staffer at the Clinton Foundation who was pregnant and just two weeks from giving birth, and her boyfriend, Ross Langdon, were among the 69 people killed in the terrorist attack on a Nairobi shopping mall.
Former President Bill Clinton and his family paid tribute to his slain staffer, a malaria specialist who worked in Tanzania and chose to be in Kenya close to her due date because she believed the east African country would be safe, according to the New York Daily News.
“We were shocked and terribly saddened to learn of the death of Elif Yavuz in the senseless attacks in Nairobi,” read the statement from the Clintons – Bill, former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and daughter Chelsea Clinton. “Elif devoted her life to helping others, particularly people in developing countries suffering from malaria and HIV/AIDS. She had originally worked with our Health Access Initiative during her doctoral studies, and we were so pleased that she had recently rejoined us as a senior vaccines researcher based in Tanzania. Elif was brilliant, dedicated, and deeply admired by her colleagues, who will miss her terribly. On behalf of the entire Clinton Foundation, we send our heartfelt condolences and prayers to Elif’s family and her many friends throughout the world.”
Islamic militants from the Somalia-based group al-Shabab opened fire on security forces in Westgate shopping complex. Al-Shabab is al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, and the group claimed it carried out the terrorist attack because of Kenyan forces being stationed in their country.
Yavuz, a native of the Netherlands, was 33. Langdon, also 33, was an accomplished architect from Tasmania.
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Peter Adams, an artist friend and colleague of Langdon’s, wrote on his blog that he “slammed down the phone and burst into tears” when he heard that Langdon and Yavuz were killed in the Westgate shopping mall attack.
“Besides a personal loss for myself, this is a major global loss. This cannot be underestimated or glossed over by the political pundits who will label Ross and Elif and their unborn child as unfortunate casualties in the war on terror,” he wrote. “Yes, I have been punched in the stomach. Yes, I have collapsed emotionally. Yes, I am not feeling particularly happy or even ‘forgiving.’
“But there is another Yes. And this is a bigger ‘yes’ that says — in honor of Ross and Elif — I will eventually pick up the pieces and continue on with the sort of work they themselves were so involved in: bringing about change to a tattered world based — not on religious grounds or economic gain — just a pure love for all of humanity and the natural world.”
Yavuz and Langdon were expecting to be parents in just two weeks. Yavuz was scheduled to give birth in early October.