NEWS

Kenya Mall Attack: Ottawa Victim From Family Of Diplomats

09/22/2013 11:47 EDT | Updated 11/22/2013 05:12 EST
One of two Canadians killed in a Kenya mall shooting attack came from a family of foreign service workers who lived all over the world, CBC News has learned.

Annemarie Desloges, 29, was off-duty and shopping with her husband, Robert Munk, at the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi when Somali militants attacked with assault rifles and grenades Saturday.

At least 59 people were killed, including Desloges and one other unidentified Canadian. The al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabaab has since claimed responsibility for the attack, which reportedly targeted non-Muslims.

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canada Border Services Agency, Desloges worked at the Canadian Embassy in the Kenyan capital for both departments over the last two years.

She was previously posted in Delhi starting in 2009, one year after entering the foreign service, according to a CIC statement, and she first joined the public service in 2006.

CBC News has learned her parents were both foreign service workers who are now retired and based in Orleans, an east Ottawa suburb.

Desloges was a member of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers. The union tweeted condolences Saturday and provided this short statement:

"(Members) are devastated by the loss yesterday of one of our own. We offer our deepest condolences to Annemarie's husband Robert, family, friends, and colleagues as they grieve this senseless tragedy. This is a terrible wound to the greater Foreign Service community, and she will be missed dearly."

The name of the second Canadian victim has not been released, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is expected to comment on the attack later Sunday, extended his condolences to families of both of the victims.

"Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms this cowardly, hateful act that apparently targeted innocent civilians who were simply out shopping," Harper said.

Desloges is the first Canadian diplomat killed overseas since 2006. Glyn Berry was killed by a suicide attack outside Kandahar, Afghanistan that also injured three Canadian soldiers.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade also said at the time, the last record it had of a Canadian diplomat being killed before 2006 was John Douglas Turner of Vancouver in 1964.

He was presumed dead after the disappearance of an aircraft over Vietnam.

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