Foreign Secretary William Hague has said there are “undoubtedly” British nationals caught up in the terror attack in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
Mr Hague said the attack, which has left at least 39 dead and 150 injured, was “callous and cowardly and brutal”.
His comments came after Number 10 confirmed the Prime Minister had spoken to Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.
A rapid deployment team is being sent to Nairobi by the Foreign Office to help in the aftermath of the attack.
There were children hiding with us as well as someone who had been shot”
Meanwhile, the head of the UK’s diplomatic service Sir Simon Fraser said the Foreign Office’s crisis team in London would be working through the night and is on standby to give consular assistance to British citizens.
The Somali-based militant group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack in which men armed with guns and grenades stormed the Westgate Mall and targeted non-Muslims.
Hannah Chisholm, a Briton visiting Nairobi, said she and 60 others barricaded themselves into a large storeroom.
She told the BBC: “We kept running to different places but the shots were getting louder so we barricaded ourselves along with about 60 others into a large storeroom. There were children hiding with us as well as someone who had been shot.”
She added: “The gunfire was loud and we were scared but at that point we thought the gunmen were thieves so we assumed they wouldn’t try to reach the storeroom.”
Mr Hague said earlier on Twitter: “UK ties with Kenya very close. Appalled by the attack and my thoughts are with everyone affected by it.”
His words were echoed by minister for Africa Mark Simmonds, who condemned the attack and offered his “deep sympathy to those affected”.
Mr Simmonds said he had spoken to Kenya’s foreign minister.
Mr Hague confirmed that the government’s emergency response committee, Cobra, held a meeting on Saturday afternoon regarding the attacks.
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