Thursday, August 07, 2008


Kenya's PM Raila Odinga, while marking the 10th anniversary of the simultaneous US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, says Kenya's struggle with terrorism will continue as long as neighbouring Somalia remains lawless.

"We need to build a new strategic engagement with popular voices in Somalia." The PM said while emphasizing on the need to get Somalia on it's feet to help control proliferaton of small arms and terrorism.

The site which was peviously occupied by the US Embassy has now turned into a memorial ground visited by relatives and survivors of the bombings.

"A lawless Somalia threatens Kenya's security, We must therefore never relax our vigilance against these extremists" Mr Odinga said during the commemoration ceremony.

He said the bombing ended country's innocence about the brutality of terrorism.

Mr Odinga said the failure by the security agencies to apprehend Mr Mohammed reminded Kenyans that "we have terrorists in our midst still planning awful deeds". "We must therefore never relax our vigilance against these extremists. Let me assure Kenyans that this government will do everything possible to prevent us from ever again being attacked," Mr Odinga said.

Sunday's botched operation to arrest Mr Mohammed has raised questions in Kenya about whether the government is doing enough to protect its citizens from the threat of terrorism. The police have intensified their manhunt for the fugitive in the coastal city of Mombasa, and security along the country's borders has been tightened.

Kenya's sizeable Muslim community(slightly over 10 million) has long complained that the "war on terror" is being used to victimise Muslims but the prime minister denied claims that the community was being used as a scapegoat, saying Islam was a religion of peace.

At least 19 Kenyan Muslims are being held in Ethiopia on suspicion of involvement in terrorism and therewherebout unknown. Amnesty International raised an alarm just last week.
At about 1030 local time on 7 August 1998, a suicide bomber threw a grenade at the guardhouse outside the US embassy in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, and tried to ram his way through the barricades.

He then detonated the explosives packed inside the vehicle, severely damaging the embassy and bringing down a seven-story building near by, killing 218 people and wounding more than 4,000.
A simultaneous attack on the embassy in Dar es Salaam killed 11 people, and wounded 72.

The bombings were percieved as al-Qaeda's first major strike in its conflict with the United States.
However, Kenya's foreign Minister Wetangula says, " As we fight terrorism, we must make sure that people's human rights are not violated" citing cases of threatening the right of Kenyan Muslims