Kenya remembers US embassy bombing

August 7, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, August 7 – Kenya on Saturday marked the 12th anniversary of two simultaneous bomb attacks on the US Embassies in Nairobi, and Dar-es-Salaam, that left over 200 people dead and hundreds injured.

In Nairobi, those who had been affected either directly or indirectly gathered at the former site of the US Embassy in Nairobi to commemorate the day. 

They recalled to Capital how the events on that fateful day changed their lives when they lost loved ones while others were left with lifelong injuries.

"It was a big loss not only for me but also for my brothers and sisters when we lost our mother. We are five of us and especially for my younger sister, she lost a mother without getting to know her at all," said 29 year old Stephen Onono, an accounting Student at a University in London.

"I was heading to Hurlinghum on assignment and on reaching the Kenya polytechnic, the whole thing happened. I came back only to find the building gone and all the people that I had left 10 minutes back were all dead," explained Joseph Kamau who had just exited Ufundi SACCO building a few minutes before it collapsed.

Their common message was that terrorism should be condemned and security measures put place to protect citizens of all nations.

"It has been difficult but we should never forget what happened here. We need to make sure that it never happens not only in Kenya but also anywhere else in the world," Mr Onono said. "Let us maintain peace so that we should not see such a thing happening again."

"Terrorism is something that should be fought by everybody and as we commemorate today, let us always think about the victims," Mr Kamau said.

Capital newsbeat spoke to a survivor of the bombing Joel Nzioka who recounted his ordeal before and after he was rescued.

"The bomb blast occurred at about 10.30am. The whole building went down when I was inside. All over sudden, it was very quiet and nothing was moving. I lost consciousness and when I came to, I been pinned down by a huge stone," Mr Nzioka recounted.

"There was so much silence but after a while I heard voices saying that wherever they were they were very far away so we had to be patient as they rescued us. It took about eight hours before I was rescued from underneath the rubble," he said.

He emphasised the need for peace to be upheld saying this is crucial for the stability of any nation.

"Peace should prevail everywhere because it is due to lack of peace that the incident occurred, so my appeal to the government is to ensure there is peace everywhere and that nobody else suffers such a thing," he pointed out.

When reached for comment, US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger expressed America\’s commitment to help Kenya in the war against terrorism.

The envoy emphasised the need for Kenya to ensure that its citizens were safe any attacks by terrorists.

Mr Ranneberger stated that security had been beefed up in all US foreign missions around the world.

"We cooperate very closely with the Kenyan government to work against terrorism and I believe that we have very good security measures in place and we appreciate the cooperation of the Kenyan government," he said.

The US Ambassador laid a wreath in remembrance of those who lost their lives during the 1998 bombings at the site earlier on Saturday.

"I went down there early this morning to lay a wreath at the August 7th memorial park in memory of all the people who died both Americans and Kenyans in that terrible tragedy," the American envoy stated.

"In this anniversary, we must remember the victims, we must not forget. We must remember how terrible terrorism is and we must continue to work together to fight it."



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