A survivor of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing who lost his eyesight in the al Qaeda terror attack sobbed on Monday as he prayed in front of a wall commemorating those killed in the explosions that targeted embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Douglas Sidialo went to the site after the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death, and said Monday was a day to remember those who have died in terror attacks.
“This is a day of great honour to the survivors and victims of terrorism in the world,” Sidialo told AP Television News. “A day to remember those whose lives were changed forever. A day of great relief to us victims and survivors to see that bin Laden has been killed.”
East Africa has long felt al-Qaida’s presence. The group was blamed for the simultaneous bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, attacks that together killed 225 people. Members of Somalia’s militant group al-Shabab have pledged allegiance to al Qaeda, and a spokesman on Monday threatened revenge attacks for bin Laden’s death.
“The Americans have previously killed other Islamist leaders,” said Mohamed Osman Arus. “Their students will continue the jihad and we shall retaliate against the Americans, Israel, Europe and Christians in Somalia with destructive explosions.”
The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi on Monday said it was “important to remember” that hundreds of Kenyans and Americans were killed during the Aug. 7, 1998 embassy attack.
“Many innocent people of many nationalities and faiths have been killed by al Qaeda under the direction of Osama Bin Laden,” it said.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki commended all those involved in tracking down and killing bin Laden.
“His killing is an act of justice to those Kenyans who lost their lives and the many more who suffered injuries,” Mr. Kibaki said.
Major TV stations in Kenya simulcast live coverage from CNN and BBC. The news surprised some who felt the U.S. would never get bin Laden.
“It is good news for all Kenyans and for me in particular,” said Beatrice Wairimu, a beautician in Nairobi. “One of my cousins was injured in al Qaeda’s 1998 attack. I never expected that he will be killed. They have been searching for him for 10 years.”
Charles Muriuki, who lost his mother in the Nairobi blast, visited the memorial wall on Monday.
“When I heard the news I felt very excited and justice has been served,” he said. “It’s been 12 years but finally justice has been served.”