Scot amongst confirmed dead at Algerian gas plant

Kenneth Whiteside's family have confirmed his death
Kenneth Whiteside's family have confirmed his death
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A SCOTTISH man died when terrorists lay siege to the In Amenas gas plant in Algerian, where he was working, his family have confirmed.

Kenneth Whiteside, 59, originally from Glenrothes, in Fife, but more recently living in South Africa, is among at least 48 victims.

His brother-in-law, John Strachan, 56, also from Glenrothes, said: “We heard on Saturday he was killed in Algeria.

“The foreign office has been around to my sister’s house.

“At this moment in time she’s trying to get him repatriated. A work colleague identified him initially.”

According to reports, the family of Carson Bilsland, 46, from Bridge of Cally, in Perthshire, have been told he is also presumed dead.

A friend of his father Ian Bilsland said: “Carson worked away a lot and had done for years, just because of the nature of his work. He had been in Algeria for nearly two years.

“He had worked out in Africa before and I think some of the time the conditions can be a bit hairy, but no-one could have foreseen something like this happening.

“It’s horrific to think all of these innocent people have been murdered just to make a political point. It’s barbaric. I know the family will be absolutely distraught.

“Carson, like his dad, was a true gentleman. I know he was a really keen diver and he had a bit of a taste for adventure, travelling to exotic places and so on.”

Meanwhile, David Cameron has pledged that British intelligence and counter-terrorism assets will play their role in an international effort to “find and dismantle” the terrorist network responsible for the Algerian massacre.

The Prime Minister updated MPs on the response to the “terrorist scourge” in the region following the end of the siege at the In Amenas plant which left three Britons confirmed dead and another three feared to have lost their lives, along with a Colombian who lived in the UK.

Mr Cameron promised that the threat posed by al Qaida-linked terrorists in the region would be at the top of the agenda for the UK presidency of the G8 group of countries.

He told the Commons: “We will work closely with the Algerian government to learn the lessons of this attack and to deepen our security co-operation.

“We will contribute British intelligence and counter-terrorism assets to an international effort to find and dismantle the network that planned and ordered the brutal assault at In Amenas.”

Setting out the scale of the challenge facing the UK and other Western countries from terror networks operating in ungoverned spaces, Mr Cameron said: “This is the work our generation faces and we must demonstrate the same resolve and sense of purpose as previous generations have with the challenges that they faced in this House and in this country.”

The Prime Minister also revealed that talks were taking place about offering extra support to the French military intervention in Mali, but stressed that British forces would not be involved in combat roles.

He told MPs: “Our help for the French will be discussed again at the National Security Council tomorrow. We have lent them two C-17 (transport aircraft), we propose to continue with that and will be looking at other transport and surveillance assets that we can let the French use to help them in what they are doing.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband backed the Government’s response to the assault on the In Amenas plant, which he described as an “unimaginable nightmare” for those involved and their families.

Britain could also increase its support for the French military intervention in Mali, Cameron said.

The Prime Minister told MPs the National Security Council meeting tomorrow would consider what “transport and surveillance” assets could be supplied.

The group which has claimed responsibility for the Algerian hostage outrage has warned of further attacks against any country backing France’s military intervention in neighbouring Mali.

Paris has sent in troops in a bid to prevent an advance by Islamic extremists who have taken over the north of the country.

Mr Cameron insisted there remained no intention for British combat forces to be involved on the ground but said it was right to support the French action.