Osama bin Laden first came to world attention in 1998 with twin embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, and many in Kenya - where annual commemorations are held in honour of the 218 killed - expressed joy at his demise.

“That is the best news that I have heard over the past 12 years,” said Charles Muriuki, whose mother died in the embassy blast. Mary Wanjiru Muriuki was killed after the suicide truck bombing at the embassy brought down the adjoining building.

Cabinet minister Joseph Kamotho, who was injured in the attack, said he was happy to hear the news but worried about retaliatory attacks.

“We should not celebrate the killing of Osama to the point where we forget to take precautions,” Mr. Kamotho urged. “The world needs to be vigilant.” John Githongo, Kenya’s leading anti-corruption activist, said in an email: “It’s usually un-African to celebrate someone’s death. But his departure makes me think of the families of the thousands of Kenyans who were killed or maimed during the bombings in 1998 who can now find a kind of peace.” Official reaction to the news was positive, with Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga saying the killing would help salve the wounds of the victims.

Mr. Kibaki said: “I commend all those people behind the tracking down and killing of Osama bin Laden. His killing is an act of justice to those Kenyans who lost their lives and the many more who suffered injuries.” But Mr. Odinga warned more must be done to bring stability to Somalia, where fighters linked to al-Qaeda are waging an insurgency.

Copyright: Guardian News & Media 2011

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