As Kenya commemorated the 25th anniversary of its deadliest terrorist attack on Monday, victims of the 1998 US embassy bombing in Nairobi reiterated their plea for compensation from the United States.
On August 7, 1998, a devastating explosion struck the US embassy in downtown Nairobi, resulting in the deaths of 213 individuals and causing injuries to over 5,000. The majority of the casualties were pedestrians and office workers in nearby buildings.
Within minutes, another explosion shook the US embassy in Dar es Salaam, located in neighboring Tanzania.
The dual bombings, attributed to Al Qaeda, resulted in the deaths of 224 individuals and left an enduring impact on how a generation perceives personal security.
The attack “still feels fresh” a quarter century later, said Anisa Mwilu, who lost her husband in the blast.
“What we can ask is for compensation,” she said, drawing applause from the hundreds assembled at a memorial park in the Kenyan capital during a commemorative event for the victims of the attack.
Caroline Muthoka, a representative of a victims’ organization, called on the US Congress to pass legislation that would provide funding for medical expenses and educational needs of survivors and their families.
Muthoka labeled the lack of compensation from the US government as an “injustice.”
Redempta Kadenge Amisi, who was in a building destroyed by the blast, expressed the need for financial aid to manage the expenses of her medication taken twice daily.
Al Qaeda Terror Attacks
“The three people I was with were killed instantly. I didn’t realise it but my back was on fire,” she said of injuries that hospitalised her for over a month.
“Since the attack, I haven’t received anything… but I still hope to get some.”
Representatives from both Kenyan and US administrations were present at the ceremony, during which the names of all the victims were recited, and candles were lit in remembrance.
The 1998 attack propelled Al Qaeda onto the international scene and marked the beginning of a series of violent attacks in the East African nation.
Following the Kenyan military’s deployment to Somalia in October 2011 to combat the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Al Shabaab, there has been a notable increase in retaliatory attacks across the border.
In September 2013, gunmen from Al Shabaab stormed Nairobi’s Westgate mall, resulting in the deaths of at least 67 people.
In April 2015, another Al Shabaab attack at a university in the eastern Kenyan city of Garissa resulted in the deaths of 148 people.
In January 2019, the group carried out an attack on a hotel complex in Nairobi, resulting in the deaths of 21 people.