France - Kenya

Two French women killed in Nairobi mall attack

Kenyan police rescue a woman and her child at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi
Kenyan police rescue a woman and her child at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi Reuters/Goran Tomasevic
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Two French citizens were among the 59 people killed in Saturday's attack on a Nairobi shopping mall, the French president's office has announced. President François Hollande "condemns the cowardly attack in the strongest terms and shares the pain of the family of our compatriots," a statement by the Elysée presidential palace said.

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The two French victims are both women, according to the statement, which describes the assault and hostage-taking by the Somali-based Islamist movement al-Shebab as a "vile act".

Al-Shebab - who are they?

Fifty-nine people have been killed, 175 wounded and an unknown number of people taking hostage, according to Kenyan officials.

Two Canadians, one of them a diplomat, and a number of Americans are also reported to have been killed, while British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said that there are certainly some UK nationals among the victims.

Al-Shebab has claimed responsibility for the attack, which started on Saturday, describing it as punishment for "crimes committed by soldiers ... against Muslims".

Kenyan troops have played an important role in an African Union offensive against al-Shebab in neighbouring Somalia.

Heavy gunfire could be heard at the Israeli-owned Westgate mall on Sunday morning.

Kenyan security officials said they were trying to kill or capture the remaining attackers and end the assault.

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