Former Glenrothes man killed in Algeria

A FORMER Glenrothes man was killed during the Algerian hostage crisis.

Kenneth Whiteside was among an estimated 23 workers who died after Islamists militants stormed a gas plant, before it was re-taken by the North Africa country’s armed forces.

Mr Whiteside, who was 59, had been based in South Africa - his family live in Johannesburg - since the 1980s, but was a regular visitor to his home town.

His daughters, Nova-Leigh and Ali, faced what the latter described as a “painful” four day wait to discover what had happened to their father after the militants took control of the plant in the Sahara Desert last Wednesday.

Their worst fears were confirmed at the weekend when they were told Kenneth was dead.

Mr Whiteside’s brother, Bob, believes he was deliberately executed.

On Sunday, Ali posted a message on the Twitter social networking site:”Rest in peace Dad. We love you. Forever and always.

“TO the families who lost someone, you are in our hearts.”

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “While eight families can thankfully welcome home their loved ones, our thoughts must be with the families of those who may have been lost in Algeria.

“We extend our condolences to all those, of all nationalities, who have lost loved ones and colleagues in this terrorist outrage.”.

Mr Whiteside was a planning manager at the In Amenas complex.

Bob Whiteside, who lives in Crieff, Perthshire, described how he had learned of his brother’s death at the hands of Islamist terrorists from social networking site Facebook.

He told BBC Radio 4’s ‘The World At One’ programme: “We know now what’s happened to Kenny, but we actually had to find out for ourselves.

“We were not given any official information and it was through Facebook, of all things, that we found out of Kenny’s demise.

“It was my daughter who found it on Facebook, a message from an Algerian co-worker.

“The police came last night and informed us that what was on Facebook was true, that Kenny had been executed.”

Asked how he felt the situation had been handled in Algeria, Mr Whiteside said: “It’s just the way life is, I’m afraid.

“I don’t hold any grudges against the Algerian army or anything because that’s the way they work, that’s their system and they weren’t bothered about the hostages as such, they just wanted to get the camp cleared of all the terrorists. That was their main objective as far as I can see.”

Mr Whiteside said his brother - who lived in Jo’burg with his wife and girls - had worked in Algeria for about five years.

“He was headhunted, and he was obviously very good at his job - he was headhunted for a few jobs,” he said.

Asked if more could have been done to keep the site secure, he said: “I honestly don’t think you could do anything, not any more than was done already.”

“They had security guards but you can’t guard every installation all over the world just because of these fanatics.

“If they are going to attack, they’ll do it.”