NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan victims of the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi are appealing for financial compensation from the United States ahead of a visit this week by President Barack Obama.
Obama should consider aid for Kenyan victims on “humanitarian grounds” during his trip to Kenya, the first stop on a two-nation African tour that also includes Ethiopia, said victim Douglas Sidialo.
A Kenyan who was blinded in the 1998 attack linked to al-Qaida, Sidialo wears sunglasses and walks with a cane.
“The first black president in America should give us Kenyans a greater consideration on humanitarian grounds to see to it that we can have some kind of livelihood,” Sidialo said in an interview with The Associated Press at a Nairobi memorial for the bombing victims.
Stella Mwikali, a bank worker who suffered injuries to her legs and right shoulder, said she later lost her job and has been struggling to get by ever since the attack. She said she deserved compensation because she was “caught in the middle of the battle” between the United States and Islamic militants.
“I was doing my job innocently,” she said Thursday. “I’m not a political person. I was just going about my normal duties.”
Extremists simultaneously attacked the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Aug. 7, 1998. The Kenya attack killed more than 200 Kenyans and 12 Americans at the embassy. Thousands were injured.
The United States has said it spent tens of millions of dollars to help attack victims and their families.
In 2001, several al-Qaida members were convicted in the United States of involvement in the attacks and are serving life sentences.
Associated Press journalist Josphat Kasire contributed.
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