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U.S.: Search Begins For Embassy Bombers

  • Sonia Winter



Washington, 11 August 1998 (RFE/RL) -- In the aftermath of the horrendous bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa, Washington is now coping with the gruesome and grueling tasks of burying the dead and finding the terrorists responsible.

As the death toll from the blasts in Tanzania and Kenya continued to rise, U.S. President Bill Clinton yesterday cut short a domestic, fund-raising tour, to return hastily to Washington and schedule a conference for today with top foreign policy advisers.

In Louisville, in the southern U.S. state of Kentucky Monday, he vowed again to pursue those responsible for the powerful explosions which killed more than 200 people and injured thousands. "We shall do whatever we can to bring the murderers to justice," Clinton said, adding that the United States must remain strong and cannot be deterred by terrorism. "There is no way out if we start running from this kind of conduct," he said.

More than 100 U.S. experts are combing the two sites for clues, helped by scientists from half a dozen other countries.

There were press reports of a security camera that may have caught some of the bombers in action and of arrests made in Dar es Salaam.

But late last night, U.S. officials could not confirm any of this. State Department spokesman James Foley said the United States is seeking information from local authorities about the detentions. He declined comment on the search for evidence.

U.S. officials said 17 special flights so far have brought medical supplies, doctors, security personnel and experts to Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and a special U.S. Navy unit is on its way to help investigators. Additional people and supplies may be flown out if needed, they said.

Earlier, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, dressed in black, spoke to State Department employees, announcing a reward of up to two million dollars for information leading to the arrest or conviction of suspects in the case.

Another senior official, Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy told reporters separately that since the bombings Friday, more than a dozen new threats have been made against U.S. targets. Each one is being treated seriously and investigated, he said.

The U.S. State Department says it receives some 30,000 threats a year and takes every one seriously.

Almost every year, there is some kind of attack on American facilities in foreign countries. It has happened 13 times since 1983, according to U.S. statistics.

Each incident is carefully documented by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) which keeps voluminous files on possible terrorist suspects. The FBI archives are said to contain the names of 3,000 groups and 20,000 individuals.

U.S. officials say they have some ideas about those responsible for the Friday massacre but are saying nothing at this early stage in the investigations.

The immediate task ahead is to lay to rest the dozen Americans who died in the blasts. Albright said she will fly to the U.S. air base in Ramstein, Germany Wednesday to accompany the bodies of 11 of the dead back to Washington. One American is to be buried in Kenya.

State Department officials said while in Germany Albright would visit some of the Kenyan victims, who are being treated at the U.S. army hospital at Landstuhl.

She also plans to visit Kenya and Tanzania after the embassies there recover from the bombings.
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