Sudan set to pay Kenya, Tanzania bomb victims

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 00:00 | By
Rescue workers stand on what remained of a building in front of the US embassy in Nairobi, four days after the deadly bombing. Photo/PD/COURTESY

Sudan’s new prime minister has pledged that his country will soon compensate hundreds of Kenyans and Tanzanians who have been awarded nearly $6 billion (Sh608 billion) in compensation for the 1998 US embassies bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

“We took corporate responsibility on addressing these claims and reaching an agreement on them,” Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok told the Wall Street Journal in the United States last week.

“A settlement with Kenyan and Tanzanian survivors of some of those killed in the attacks will be reached “definitely in weeks, not months,”  he said.

At issue are payments by Sudan to 570 relatives of US embassy employees or contractors killed in al-Qaeda’s nearly simultaneous attacks on the embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

Not employed

None of the awards ordered by US courts will be available to the thousands of Kenyans and Tanzanians who were harmed by the attacks either directly or indirectly but who were not employed by the embassies or by private companies that did business with the embassies.

A total of 224 people died in the twin bombings — 214 in Nairobi and 10 in Dar. The death toll includes 212 Africans and 12 Americans.

US courts have held Sudan liable for $5.9 billion (Sh598.3 billion) in compensatory damages to the designated groups of survivors because it sheltered al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as he plotted the embassy attacks. 

The survivors could receive an additional $4.3 billion if the US Supreme Court overturns a decision by a lower court disqualifying them from punitive damages that would also be paid by Sudan.

 “We have reached out to the attorneys representing Sudan and offered various creative proposals for resolution of their obligations to the victims of the bombings,” Chicago-based attorney Gavriel Mairone said in an email message.

Those offers “take into consideration Sudan’s economic situation and the economic situation of our clients whose lives have been destroyed and many of whom were thrown into poverty for the last 20 years with the loss of their ‘breadwinners’ (fathers or mothers / spouses),” Mairone wrote. –Agencies

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