The victims of the 1998 bombing of the United States Embassy in Nairobi are now seeking compensation from the state due to possible security breaches that led to the terrorist attack.
In a petition filed with the High Court through legal aid group Kituo Cha Sheria, victims want compensation on the grounds that the attack was the result of negligence and failure by security agencies.
They also want President Uhuru Kenyatta to form a commission of inquiry to establish what happened before the bombing.
The mission of the commission is “to find the culpability of state institutions and agents of the state in the attack and recommendations for their prosecution.”
They also want the court to declare that the government did not take the necessary steps to detect, prevent and stop the terrorist attack as well as all the planning and execution.
They believe the bombing occurred when security agencies had sufficient knowledge and intelligence about an impending attack.
“An investigation will promote accountability within the security establishment and prevent a repeat of a similar attack,” the court documents read.
Stay in Sudan
Kituo Cha Sheria’s executive director, Dr Annette Mbogoh, said that before the attack, the Sudanese government had sheltered Al Qaeda militants.
In Sudan, activists were reportedly given passports and allowed to transport weapons and money across the border to Kenya. Khartoum had also given refuge to Osama bin Laden, which led the US State Department to place the country on a list of states sponsoring terrorism in 1993.
“If the Kenyan government had tightened border security, terrorists would not have entered the country or received a safe haven to plan and execute the attack,” Mbogoh said.
She said the transport of equipment and weapons used in the attack and smuggling of money is a testament to the government’s complacency and laxity, allowing Al Qaeda operatives to bypass customs controls and immigration.
Led by George Ngigi, the victims claim that officers lived in an apartment in Nairobi, where they set up a makeshift laboratory for their planning.
âIn August 1997, before the bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the FBI and the Kenyan police raided the house of a certain Wadih El Hage in Nairobi. computer hard drive, âcourt documents say.
The government’s responsibility
The victims claim that the terrorists were residing in the Runda estate in May 1998. The house was isolated by high walls, which made it almost impossible for anyone to observe activity in and around the house.
“A month later at around 10:30 am, terrorists riding in a truck detonated a large bomb in the back parking lot, near the access ramp to the basement of the American Embassy garage, killing 213 people and injuring 400 people. “, they declared.
“They have not ensured our security by failing to strengthen security at the Kenyan borders and by not screening all people entering the country as expected of a country doing due diligence.”
Mr. Ngigi said that from the said government failures and violations, Al Qaeda operatives freely established residences, laboratories, transport equipment and weapons as well as the movement of its personnel in Kenya.
The applicants’ case is that the state ignored or neglected several pieces of information and useful information about the imminent terrorist attacks targeting the embassy.
Sudan and Iran
Among those who filed the case through attorney Boniface Muinde, of Kituo cha Sheria, are officials of the 1998 US Embassy Blast Association. Those responsible are Mr. George Ngige Njoroge (President) and Reverend Evanson Ndung’u Gitu (Secretary), whose wife Susan Wairimu perished in the explosion.
Mr. Njoroge, Reverend Gitu of Calvary Chapel and the others also say that six months after entering a judgment in their case, the GA should be forced to file a case of international jurisdiction against Sudan and the ‘Iran for the compensation of all victims and their families.
They also want compensation for the assets of Al Qaeda and BNP Paribas SA (BNPP), a global financial institution headquartered in Paris.
They also want the GA to be forced to demand recognition of responsibility from Sudan and Iran from where, according to them, the attacks were planned and carried out.
Many families are still demanding justice, 22 years after the terrorist attack.
Mr Njoroge, a businessman who operated video stores, was in town to repair his video machine when he was the victim of the attack.
Reverend Gitu’s wife had gone to get a visa from the US Embassy because they had to fly to the US for a religious leader; conference. He said the way they have been treated over the years gives the impression that “we are not human beings”.
Kituo Cha Sheria, M. Njoroge, Rev Gitu, Flora Wamukowa, Esther Njeri Githagui, Douglas Sidialo, prosecuting on behalf of 337 other victims of the blast, appointed the Secretaries of the Home and Defense Cabinet, the Inspector General of Police, National Police Service. , the National Intelligence Service and the Attorney General as defendants in this case.
The case will be discussed on May 12.