Barack Obama laid a wreath today for victims of the 1998 US embassy bombing in Nairobi. But some Kenyan survivors of the attack were hoping for much more.
It was solemn, silent moment of respect, attended by survivors of the blast as well as Susan Rice, Obama’s national security advisor.
The bombing in Nairobi on August 7, 1998, as well as one targeting the US embassy in neighboring Tanzania, killed a total of 224 people and injured more than 5,000 people. Most of them were Kenyans and Tanzanians.
Hadija Abdullah, 43, a trader who sold clothes, bags and shoes, was visiting customers in a building next to the Nairobi embassy when it came under attack.
She was badly injured in the blast, and the psychological trauma means she still panics whenever she hears a loud noise.
“Life was so hard” after the bombing, Abdullah said. “We are suffering. The problem came from the Americans — they were the target.”
Abdullah had been hoping to meet Obama, so that he might hear her plight. She wants him to assist the Kenyan survivors, “like they assisted the others in America.”
So does Dorcas Nyakio, 64, whose husband Kagotho, 69, was also wounded in the attack, and went from being the breadwinner to their family of six children to suffering lifelong serious health problems, requiring expensive medication.
“My husband can’t come here because he is bedridden. He cannot move. I’m the one who takes care of him,” Nyakio said.
They will have left disappointed