Obama says embassy blast victims not forgotten

August 8, 2011 10:05 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 8 – US President Barack Obama is assuring victims of the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania that his government has not forsaken them.

In a statement issued on Monday, a day after the two countries commemorated the terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of more than 300 people; Obama said the US would not forget families of those killed.

“We join with our friends and allies in advancing peace and security for Americans, Kenyans, Tanzanians, and all people in building a world that is worthy of the legacy of the victims of these bombings,” Mr Obama said. “And as we extend our hearts and prayers to the families of those killed, we pledge that they will not be forgotten.”

His statement does not mention any plans to compensate the families who have been waiting for support, 13 years after the tragedy.

“Let it be known that we have never been paid any money by either the Kenya or US governments. We have been forgotten and neglected because no one thinks about us despite the promises we were given,” the chairman of the August 7th victims Ali Mwadama who led Sunday’s gathering said.

“As we gather here today (Sunday), some of the survivors are dying because they could not continue obtaining the needed medication to keep them going, how long will this continue,” he pointed out and urged the two governments to consider meeting their pledge of paying their restitution.

Mr Mwadama was among hundreds of Kenyans who gathered at the Memorial Park on Sunday to lay wreaths at the plaque where names of some 219 people killed in the Nairobi bombing are inscribed.

Powerful blasts targeting US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam went off on August 7, 1998, blowing up the buildings, in what authorities blamed on Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network which viciously targeted American installations.

In Kenya, at least 219 people were killed and more than 4000 others wounded when suicide bombers in a truck laden with explosives parked outside the US embassy building on Haile Selassie Avenue and detonated a powerful bomb that brought building.

A simultaneous explosion occurred at the US embassy in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania where 11 people were killed and 85 others wounded.

Victims in both attacks have not been adequately compensated 13 years after the devastating tragedy.
“You can see all around here, all the buildings which were affected have been put up, but the people who lost their relatives or those who were injured as a result of the attack have not been compensated,” one survivor Mr Layfields Mureithi said.

Mr Mureithi said he was wounded while trying to assist the injured victims at the scene of the blast but has never received a penny from any of the governments concerned.

President Obama said the attacks in East Africa stand as testament to al-Qaeda’s commitment to use unspeakable violence to kill innocent men, women and children regardless of their religion, race, or nationality.

He described as “an important blow to al-Qaeda and its ability to threaten so many innocents around the region” the death of Harun Fazul who is believed to be the architect of most attacks in east Africa.

“Today (Sunday) the remembrance of these tragic attacks spurs us to continue to work closely with our allies in East Africa and around the world to bring terrorists to justice and to redouble our efforts to prevent these attacks in the future,” Obama’s statement added.


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