When will the US Pay Kenyan Victims of Osama Bin Laden Attack in Nairobi in 1998?

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Caroline Muthoka and Lilian Munyiva survivors of the August 7, 1998 bomb blast on American Embassy, Nairobi during the interview at the memorial Park on July 24, 2023

The Osama Bin Laden al-Qaeda attack in Nairobi Kenya at the US Embassy on August 7, 1998 was one of their most devastating attacks and they killed hundreds of people including Kenyan and American citizens who were in the area.

In fact, it was the warning that al-Qaeda meant business and was going to be dangerous for the whole world.

The al-Qaeda attack in Nairobi was crazy. It was at the busiest part of Nairobi City. They destroyed the US Embassy flat to the ground and then also destroyed one of the most beautiful buildings in the country a place I loved because the TSC offices which were my employers when I was a lecturer at Mombasa polytechnic back in 1986 was located in that iconic building bending both ways.

Right next to the US embassy is where so many of us took matatus and buses from the heart of the city to Mariakani in South B where I lived for a long time.

Three years later on September 11, 2001 al-Qaeda invaded the United States directly. I was at work on that day in Toronto and we had a staff meeting which we always have on Tuesdays. Even now. Next meeting is August 8, 2023, and I will be there.

On August 7, 2001, for some reason during the staff meeting, I came upstairs to check something then on the computer screen I see airplanes going through some of the tallest buildings in New York. It was a shock.

I ran downstairs at the meeting and everybody was is in a state of fear and shock. What is coming next for us in Toronto? Goodness me. That is where we were at the staff meeting at our workplace on that day of September 11, 2001.

After these tragedies the US government did the right thing for American citizens who were victims of the terrorist attacks. The US paid the victims and their families in millions of dollars for both those who were attacked in Kenya in 1998 and in the US in 2001.

One big sin for the US is that they refused to pay Kenyan citizens who were victims of al-Qaeda attacks in Nairobi in 1998. The argument by the US has been that if they pay victims of al-Qaeda attacks outside the US terrain then al-Qaeda will just kill people all over the world and the US pays. That is a nonsensical argument with the Kenyan case.

Al-Qaeda attacked the US Embassy in Nairobi and killed hundreds of people including Kenyans. That has been proven by US, FBI and internationals experts. There are no arguments about it. Pay the Kenyan victims of that attack the same way you paid the US victims of the same attack.

Be fair to all the victims of those who were there when the United States Embassy was attacked unless you want countries like Kenya to say they will not accept US embassies in their land for fear of attacks and being treated with discrimination after those attacks.

The Kenyan government needs to talk straight to the US government about compensation for the victims of the 1998 terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Kenya.

They will listen but you have to talk tough to them and stop bending your knees in front of them for mercy. We need justice not mercy from the US on the 1998 terror attacks in our country on the US embassy.

Adongo Ogony is a Kenyan Human Rights Activist and  Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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