Kenya remembers deadly embassy bombings

The world must solve crises in the Middle East and Somalia or they will spawn more of the extremism that led to bombings of United States embassies in East Africa a decade ago, Kenya’s prime minister warned on Thursday.

Raila Odinga was speaking at a ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of explosions that tore through Washington’s missions in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and killed more than 200 people, mostly local Africans.

The devastating attacks were blamed on al-Qaeda — the first time Osama bin Laden’s group had burst on to the world stage.

”The scale of this atrocity shocked our nation to the core,” Odinga said after laying a wreath at the site of Nairobi blast. ”We must leave no stone unturned in fighting the scourge of terrorism. But at the same time, unless we provide just solutions to political crises such as those in the Middle East, new extremists will continue to be created.”

Odinga called for the swift creation of an independent Palestinian state with secure borders for Israel, and he urged the United Nations Security Council to end violence and suffering that has plagued Kenya’s chaotic neighbour Somalia.

”We must do not only because it is our humanitarian duty. A lawless Somalia threatens Kenya’s security,” he said.

The US says several al-Qaeda operatives suspected of being behind the 1998 bombings have sought refuge in Somalia.

This weekend, police on the Kenyan coast said they narrowly missed catching one of them, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, after he slipped back over the border for medical treatment in Malindi.

Odinga vowed his government would never let down its guard.

”The stark revelations of the last few days have reminded us yet again that we have terrorists in our midst still planning awful deeds,” he said in his speech.

Kenyan Muslims complain of suffering discrimination at the hands of the authorities. But Odinga said no particular community would be singled out in the hunt for extremists.

”To scapegoat any section of our people, or to disregard our laws in pursing suspects, would in fact generate the very disaffection and extremism on which terror thrives,” he said. — Reuters

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