American Aid Worker Died in Mali Hotel Attack

Anita Datar is one of 20 confirmed victims
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2015 8:09 AM CST
American Aid Worker Died in Mali Hotel Attack
The entrance to the Radisson Blu hotel with yellow police tape around a pillar, right, after an attack by gunmen on the hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015.    (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)

The death toll in Friday's terrorist attack on a hotel in Mali stands at 20, including an American woman described by her family as "one of the kindest and most generous people we know." Anita Datar, the only confirmed US casualty in the attack, was an international development worker and former Peace Corps volunteer who was born in Massachusetts and grew up in New Jersey, NBC reports. The 41-year-old, whose son is in elementary school, worked for a US-based firm and has spent much of her career "working to advance global health and international development, with a focus on population and reproductive health, family planning, and HIV," the State Department said, per Reuters.

"I’m in shock," a high school classmate tells the Washington Post. "She's always been such a kind soul, and she cared deeply about people, and her work obviously shows that." "Everything she did in her life she did to help others—as a mother, public health expert, daughter, sister, and friend," her brother said in a statement Friday night. "And while we are angry and saddened that she has been killed, we know that she would want to promote education and healthcare to prevent violence and poverty at home and abroad, not intolerance." Two of the gunmen who burst into the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako shouting Islamic slogans were also killed, and the AP reports that Malian authorities are seeking at least three more suspects. (More Mali stories.)

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