Courting Remembrance

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

8 at large (See the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists) one of those still at large escaped a raid in Kenya, as recently as this past weekend

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.

Nairobi, Kenya:

U.S. Citizens Killed

Jesse Nathan Aliganga Jr. (Marine Corps)

 Jean Rose Dalizu (Defense)

Molly Huckaby Hardy (State)

 Kenneth Ray Hobson (Army)

Prabhi Guptara Kavaler (State)

Arlene Kirk (Defense)

Mary Louise Martin (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Ann Michelle O’Connor (State)

Sherry Lynn Olds (Air Force)

Uttamlal T. Shah (State)

Nairobi, Kenya:

Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs) Killed

(All State FSNs unless noted otherwise)

Chrispin W. Bonyo

Lawrence A. Gitau

Hindu O. Idi

Tony Irungu

Geoffrey Kalio

G. Joel Kamau

Lucy N. Karigi

Francis M. Kibe

Joe Kiongo

Dominic Kithuva

Peter K. Macharia

Francis W. Maina

Cecelia Mamboleo

Lydia M. Mayaka

Francis Mbugua Ndungu

Kimeu N. Nganga

Francis Mbogo Njunge

Vincent Nyoike

Francis Olewe Ochilo

Maurice Okach

Edwin A.O. Omori

Lucy G. Onono

Evans K. Onsongo (Dept. of Agriculture)

Eric Onyango

Sellah Caroline Opati

Rachel M. Pussy (USIS)

Farhat M. Sheikh

Phaedra Vrontamitis

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

Abdalla Mohamed

Abbas William Mwila

Bakari Nyumhu

Mtendeje Rajabu

Mohamed Mahundi Ramadani

Doto Lukua Ramadhani

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Foreign Service National Missing

Saidi Rogath

Nairobi, Kenya: U.S. Citizens Injured

Ellen Bomer (warning: graphic photos)

Dan Briehl

Carol Hawley

Clyde Hirn

Gary Lunnquist

Frank Pressley

Carolyn Riley

David Robertson

Lydia Sparks

Gary Spiers

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)

Livingstone Madahana

Grace N. Marangu

Gideon Maritim

Lydia N. Mbithi (Foreign Agriculture Service)

Margaret Ndungu

Josiah O. Obat (Voice of America)

Tobias O. Otieno (Foreign Commercial Service)

Mary Ofisi

Jael Adhiambo Oyoo

Josephat K. Wachira (Library of Congress)

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: U.S. Citizens Injured

Cynthia Kimble

Elizabeth Slater

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania:Foreign Service Nationals Injured

Eddieson Kepesa

Henry Kessy

Evitta Kwimbere

Nafisa Malik

Hosiana Mmbaga