On Monday, Kenya commemorated the 25th anniversary of the 1998 bombing of the American embassy in Nairobi. Survivors and the families of victims took the opportunity to demand financial compensation.
On Monday, August 7, survivors and families of victims of the 1998 bombing of the American embassy in Nairobi renewed their request for reparations from the US government, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of this deadly attack claimed by Al Qaeda.
In the mid-morning of August 7, 1998, a powerful explosion devastated the American embassy located in the center of the Kenyan capital. Most of the 213 dead and over 5,000 injured were pedestrians or office workers in nearby buildings of the embassy, where 44 people, including 12 Americans, were killed. A few minutes later, another attack targeted the American diplomatic mission in neighboring Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
On Monday, families of victims and survivors of the Nairobi bombing renewed their demands for compensation during a ceremony held at the former embassy site, in the presence of Kenyan and American officials.
“This incident is still fresh” in people’s memories, Anisa Mwilu declared from the podium. She lost her husband in the attack. “What we can ask for is compensation and that is what we are asking for today,” she continued, to the applause of several hundred people present.
Caroline Muthoka, a member of the Victims’ Consortium, criticized the “injustice of the US government,” which has not approved financial compensation, calling on the US Congress to pass a law covering “medical expenses” and “education for our children.”
On the morning of the attack, Redempta Kadenge Amisi was in offices in the Ufundi Building, a neighboring building completely destroyed by the explosion.
“I still hope”
“I was on the fourth floor, the three people I was with were killed on the spot,” said the 80-year-old woman, now in a wheelchair due to the aftermath of the attack. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but my back was on fire. I spent over four weeks in the hospital. But since the attack, I have not received anything, no compensation, even though I have to undergo treatment every morning and night. But I still hope to receive something,” she concluded.
During the ceremony, the names of the victims of the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam bombings were read out to a tearful audience, and candles were lit in their memory.
This attack was the first in a series of attacks that have hit Kenya. The deadliest ones targeted the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi in 2013 (67 dead), the Garissa University in 2015 (148 dead), and the Dusit hotel complex, also in Nairobi, in 2019 (21 dead).