Anita Datar, American Aid Worker, Dead in Mali Hotel Attack

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Anita Datar was a 41-year-old mother and American aid worker who was among those who died in the Mali hotel attack in the French republic in West Africa on Friday.

State Department spokesperson John Kirby issued a statement confirming her death on Friday.

"We can confirm that U.S. citizen Anita Ashok Datar was killed in Mali on November 20. We offer our sincere condolences to her family and friends. Out of respect for privacy for Ms. Datar's family, we have no further comment at this time," he said.

Anita Datar's family issued a statement, too.

"We are devastated that Anita is gone—it’s unbelievable to us that she has been killed in this senseless act of violence and terrorism. Anita was one of the kindest and most generous people we know," the statement read.

"[Anita] loved her family and her work tremendously. Everything she did in her life she did to help others – as a mother, public health expert, daughter, sister and friend. 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," it continued.

A splinter group of Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack that killed Anita Datar, as well as at least 26 others.

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the attacks publicly.

"All those responsible for these recurring terrorist attacks must be held accountable," he said. "These terrorist attacks will only deepen our shared resolve to fight terrorism."

Anita Datar was born in Massachusetts and grew up in New Jersey. She served in the Peace Corps. She earned a master's degree from Columbia University in Public Health, and used her education to help those in impoverished countries. She is survived by her son, her parents, and a brother.

People from all around the world, but especially here in the United States, are holding the family of Anita Datar in their prayers.

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.