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337 families sue Kenyan Govt. for compensation over 1998 US Embassy bombing

NATIONAL
By Paul Ogemba | May 18th 2021
According to the petitioners, Kenya had information about the 1998 attack as early as 1993 but did not act on any intelligence to thwart the aggression. [Courtesy]

Three hundred and thirty-seven families have sued the Kenyan Government for compensation over the 1998 US Embassy Bombing, which claimed the lives of their loved ones and left several scarred permanently.

The aggrieved, through their lawyer John Khaminwa, filed the petition before the Nairobi High Court on Tuesday.

The petitioners are claiming, unlike the US Government which compensated its citizens over the 1998 loss of lives and property, the Kenyan Government was yet to pay a single coin to the victims’ families.

The families are also claiming general damages, arguing Kenya failed to act on readily available intelligence to avert the attack.

In the aftermath of the attack, over 900 FBI agents travelled to assist in the recovery of evidence and identification of victims at the bomb sites and to track down the perpetrators. [Courtesy]

George Ngige, Evanson Ndungu, Flora Wamukowa, Esther Njeri, Douglas Sidialo and Kituo cha Sheria, who filed the suit, said they were seeking compensation for at least 337 families who either lost their loved ones in the attack, or whose members were wounded in the blast.

According to the petitioners, Kenya had information about the 1998 attack as early as 1993 but did not act on any intelligence to thwart the aggression.

“We are also asking the court to compel the President to set up a Commission of Inquiry into the 1998 US Embassy bombing. The Commission will, upon completion of investigations, recommend the appropriate compensation for all the victims and their family members,” said Khaminwa.

They submitted that various reports have shown that initial planning of the attack began as early as 1993 when Al-Qaeda operatives rented a house in Nairobi to set up a laboratory for developing the bomb that struck the Embassy.

Khaminwa submitted that out of the 213 people killed during the attack, only 44, who were American citizens and employees of the US Embassy, were compensated while the Kenyan victims were neglected.

On August 7, 1998, nearly simultaneous bombs blew up in front of the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Two hundred and twenty-four people died in the blasts, including 12 Americans, and more than 4,500 people were wounded.

In the aftermath of the attacks, over 900 FBI agents travelled overseas to assist in the recovery of evidence and the identification of victims at the bomb sites and to track down the perpetrators.

These attacks were soon directly linked to al Qaeda. To date, more than 20 people have been charged in connection with the bombings.

Several of these individuals – including Usama bin Laden – have been killed. Six are serving life sentences in U.S. prison, and a few others are awaiting trial.

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