Victims of the 1998 bomb blast at the United States Embassy on cooperative house building in Nairobi are optimistic that the visit by US President Barack Obama and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta will bear fruit in having them compensated.
The 7th August 1998 Bomb blast Victims Association Kenya Chairman George Ngige said that he was optimistic that the matter will be addressed by Obama who visited the memorial park on Saturday.
“We think the matter has now been laid bare before President Kenyatta and Barack Obama and we believe they will discuss the matter and leave us with solutions,” said Ngige.
On Saturday, Obama paid a visit to the memorial park located right where the then US embassy stood, before the 1998 bombing by Al-Qaeda. The US president laid wreaths at the monument, took a moment of silence before continuing with his visit in Kenya that began on Friday July 24th and ended on Sunday July 26th.
So far, the association has laid petition before the office of the president, the US embassy, national assembly as well as the Attorney General ‘s office.
“We took a petition to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s office through the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government Joseph Nkaisery on July 8th. We also took a petition to the United States Embassy here in Nairobi on the same date as well as to parliament and to the Attorney General’s Office,”
said Ngige, adding that the victims association had given the government seven days to reply to their petition.
According to Ngige, the human rights officer at the embassy promised to look at the into the issue and give a reply.
“However, the spokesman at the Interior and Coordination of National Government Ministry in Kenya denied having knowledge of the list of the 1998 bomb blast,” said Ngige.
Having written to various state organs, the victims now say that it is time the matter is addressed by the state or even the United States government. Said Ngige:
“We also wrote to Amref but they said they would write to the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government but there is no feedback yet. We now feel that the matter must be addressed by President Kenyatta or even the US President Barack Obama.”
Ngige says that if the state does not heed to their pleas to compensate the over 2,000 victims, orphans, widows and widowers of the 1998 bomb blast, the association will stage a hunger strike outside the office of the President.
“We will stage a hunger strike outside the President’s office so that if they want to kill us they can do so,”
said a distraught Ngige.
He represents over 2,000 victims of the 1998 bomb blast that targeted the United States Embassy. The blast that brought down the building claimed over 200 lives and left more than 4,000 injured. Seventeen years later, the victims have not been compensated either by the US government or the Kenyan government. During the August 7, 1998 attack, 213 people lost their lives, among them 12 Americans. A simultaneous attack took place in neighbouring Tanzania, killing 11 people and injuring over 100 others.