BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Ishbel Matheson
"Hundreds are still suffering the physical and psychological injuries inflicted by the attack"
 real 28k

Douglas Sidialo, bomb victim
"It's too much to bear"
 real 28k

Philomena Owino, bomb victim
"It will not pay back those people who died"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 30 May, 2001, 12:35 GMT 13:35 UK
Embassy bomb victims still suffering
Edith Bartley (L) leads Clara Aliganda (R) away from the media
Relatives of the victims wept as they heard the verdicts
By Ishbel Matheson in Nairobi

In Kenya, victims of the 1998 American embassy bombing have welcomed the convictions of four men for the crime, but they have pleaded that their own plight should not be forgotten.

Many say it is just as important to care for the victims as it is to bring the perpetrators to justice.

In the beginning they were concentrating on their physical injuries ... but now that is healed, so the psychological trauma is taking over


Over 200 people were killed and thousands injured when the bomb exploded at the American embassy, causing massive devastation.

Three years on, many are still coming to terms with appalling injuries. And they worry that as time goes by, their plight will fade from the public consciousness and their suffering will be forgotten.

Terrible legacy

Some lost limbs, others were blinded or maimed in the attack. Many more suffer from psychological trauma. Families have split up, and some of the victims have been unable to carry on with their jobs.

Philomena Owino, a 50-year-old office worker who suffered leg injuries in the attack, now suffers from depression as a result of the trauma.

Douglas Sidialo
Douglas Sidialo was blinded in the attack
"Justice is done, but it will not heal whatever happened, because we'll still be left feeling that we are no longer the same," she explained.

She said she would not be comforted by a death penalty for the bombers, as "it will not pay back those people who died".

Limited resources

The US Government has helped to pay for medical treatment and psychological counselling. But there are rumours that this funding may run out soon. Most of the victims cannot afford to pay for their own treatment.

Ms Owino says that her own medicine for her depression is very expensive.

Although the bombing was in 1998, stress levels among the victims remain very high, and the trial awakened memories of the day it happened.

Susan Mwangi, the manager of a victims' relief centre, explained that "in the beginning they were concentrating on their physical injuries ... but now that is healed so the psychological trauma is taking over".

Cry for help

Douglas Sidialo was blinded in the attack. As head of a victim support group, he is calling on the United States to do more to help.

"Until such a time when we see good support coming from the American Government, we'll just assume that their interest was just to pursue the perpetrators of the bombing and that's it," he said.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

29 May 01 | Americas
US embassy bombing four convicted
03 Jan 01 | Americas
Embassy bombings trial begins
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories