The first moment of the day we court forgetfulness. Even when we are fully awake, a century can Go by in the space of a single heartbeat.
from Courting Forgetfulness Robert Bly The New Yorker, July 21, 2008
Ten years ago today, beginning at approximately 9:30 a.m. local time, FAZUL ABDULLAH MOHAMMED drove a pick-up truck from the villa located at 43 New Runda Estates to the vicinity of the United States Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, while MOHAMED RASHED DAOUD AL-'OWHALI rode in the Nairobi Bomb Truck driven by "Azzam" (a Saudi national) containing a large bomb to the United States Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. MOHAMED RASHED DAOUD AL-'OWHALI possessed four stun-grenade type devices, a 9 millimeter Beretta handgun, bullets, and keys to the padlocks on the Nairobi Bomb Truck.
At approximately 10:30 a.m., MOHAMED RASHED DAOUD AL-'OWHALI got out of the Nairobi Bomb Truck as it approached the rear of the Embassy building and brandished a stun grenade before throwing it in the direction of a security guard and then seeking to flee. At approximately 10:30 a.m., "Azzam" drove the Nairobi Bomb Truck to the rear of the Embassy building and fired a handgun at the windows of the Embassy building.
At approximately 10:30 a.m., "Azzam" detonated the explosive device contained in the Nairobi Bomb Truck at a location near the rear of the Embassy building, demolishing a multi-story secretarial college and severely damaging the United States Embassy building and the Cooperative Bank Building, causing a total of more than 213 deaths, as well as injuries to more than 4,500 people, including citizens of Kenya and the United States.
On or about August 7, 1998, KHALFAN KHAMIS MOHAMED accompanied Ahmed Abdullah also known as "Ahmed the German," because of his fair hair (Wright, p.307), an Egyptian national (named as a co-conspirator but not as a defendant in USA vs. UBL), in the Dar es Salaam Bomb Truck during a portion of the ride to the United States Embassy. According to Lawrence Wright, the Pulitzer Prize writer of The Looming Tower, "the bombings were scheduled at ten thirty on a Friday morning, a time when observant Muslims were supposed to be in the mosque."
At approximately 10:40 a.m., “Ahmed the German” detonated an explosive device contained, along with oxygen and acetylene tanks and truck batteries, in the Dar es Salaam Bomb Truck in the vicinity of the United States Embassy building located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, severely damaging the United States Embassy building and causing the deaths of at least 11 persons, including Tanzanian citizens, on the Embassy property, as well as injuries to at least 85 people.
What happened to the 21 individuals indicted in 2001 for their roles in the 1998 twin embassy bombings in East Africa?
2 reportedly killed in Afghanistan
4 serving life without parole since 2001
3 held in the UK since 1998/99
2 held in Gitmo
2 welfare and whereabouts unknown (in secret prison, hiding in Iran????)
Below is a list of both American and Foreign Service National employees who were victims of the twin bombings. AFSA maintains a Memorial Plaque (names are online here) at Main State honoring Americans who lost their lives in the line of duty (or under heroic or inspirational circumstances) but there is none honoring our local employees who perished under similar circumstances while serving the United States and the American people overseas.
I would like to see a similar plaque, but given the money troubles spread all around these days, I am not very optimistic this would happen at all. Besides, the plaque may cover an entire wall given how many locals we’ve lost and not just in East Africa.
If you're interested, the records from the Accountability Review Board convened after the embassy bombings are archived here. I am posting the names of the victims here because the archived records are not terribly user-friendly even to the best search engines. I admit that this is a poor substitute to a real plaque, but I would like to court remembrance for them, even if only online.
U.S. Citizens Killed
Jesse Nathan Aliganga Jr. (Marine Corps)
Ann Michelle O'Connor (State)
Sherry Lynn Olds (Air Force)
Uttamlal T. Shah (State)
Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs) Killed
(All State FSNs unless noted otherwise)
Chrispin W. Bonyo
Lawrence A. Gitau
Hindu O. Idi
G. Joel Kamau
Lucy N. Karigi
Francis M. Kibe
Peter K. Macharia
Francis W. Maina
Lydia M. Mayaka
Francis Mbugua Ndungu
Kimeu N. Nganga
Francis Mbogo Njunge
Francis Olewe Ochilo
Edwin A.O. Omori
Lucy G. Onono
Evans K. Onsongo (Dept. of Agriculture)
Sellah Caroline Opati
Rachel M. Pussy (USIS)
Farhat M. Sheikh
Adams T. Wamai (Dept. of Commerce)
Frederick M. Yafes
Moses Namayi (Dept. of Commerce/Contractor)
Josiah Odero Owuor (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Contractor)
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Foreign Service Nationals Killed
Yusuf Shamte Ndange
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Foreign Service Nationals (Contractors) Killed
Abbas William Mwila
Mohamed Mahundi Ramadani
Doto Lukua Ramadhani
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Foreign Service National Missing
Nairobi, Kenya: U.S. Citizens Injured
Ellen Bomer (warning: graphic photos)
Nairobi, Kenya: Contractors Injured
Pauline Abdallah (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Joshua O' Kindo (Guard)
Nairobi, Kenya: Foreign Service Nationals Injured
Caroline W. Gichuru
Michael Kiari Ikonye
Moses M. Kinyua (Foreign Agriculture Service)
Grace N. Marangu
Lydia N. Mbithi (Foreign Agriculture Service)
Josiah O. Obat (Voice of America)
Tobias O. Otieno (Foreign Commercial Service)
Jael Adhiambo Oyoo
Josephat K. Wachira (Library of Congress)
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: U.S. Citizens Injured
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Foreign Service Nationals Injured