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Kenyan leaders welcome news of Osama's death

Monday May 2 2011

A flower is placed next to the plaque with names of people who perished during the 1998 terrorist bomb attack next to the Cooperative Bank Building in Nairobi. Kenyan leaders on Monday joined the world in saluting the US for killing al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden. HEZRON NJOROGE | NATION

A flower is placed next to the plaque with names of people who perished during the 1998 terrorist bomb attack next to the Cooperative Bank Building in Nairobi. Kenyan leaders on Monday joined the world in saluting the US for killing al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden. HEZRON NJOROGE | NATION 

Kenyan leaders on Monday joined the world in saluting the US for killing al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden.

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga said Kenyans were happy with the killing.

Kenya has suffered most of the al Qaeda terrorist attacks in East Africa with one in 1998 in Nairobi leaving more than 200 people dead. There was also another attack in Kikambala, Mombasa.

President Kibaki said the killing of Osama in Pakistani brought justice for the Kenyan victims of al-Qaeda.

“On behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Kenya I commend all those people behind the successful tracking down and killing of Osama bin Laden,” President Kibaki said.

“The killing of Osama has taken place nearly thirteen years after the terrorist bombings in Nairobi that led to the death of over two hundred people, in an act believed to have been masterminded by Osama. His killing is an act of justice to those Kenyans who lost their lives and the many more who suffered injuries.”

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Mr Odinga was quoted by BBC saying: “Kenyans are happy and thank the US people, the Pakistani people and everybody else who managed to kill Osama. Osama’s death can only be positive for Kenya, but we need to have a stable government in Somalia.”

“The loss of its [al-Qaeda’s] leader may first upset the movement but then it will regroup and continue.”

The al-Shabab militant group, which controls much of southern Somalia, has close links to al-Qaeda and last year carried out a suicide bombing in Uganda. The group has also threatened to attack Kenya for training Somali Transitional Federal Government forces.

In 2009 US forces killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a top al-Qaeda operative accused of links to the 1998 embassy bombings, in a raid in Somalia.

Osama also lived in Sudan for five years.

Separately, Internal Security permanent secretary Francis Kimemia said the US should also target Al Qaeda cells in East Africa.

The US embassy in Nairobi said it stood by President Barack Obama’s statement that justice has been done as a result of killing of Osama.
“It is important to remember that hundreds of Kenyans and Americans were killed and wounded when the US embassy was attacked by al Qaeda on August 7, 1998,” the embassy said.

It said many innocent people of many nationalities and faiths have been killed by al Qaeda under the direction of Osama.

The embassy said it will continue to work with Kenya and the international community to combat terrorism.

Kenyan security personnel were on Monday put on high alert to avert any revenge attacks following the killing of Osama.

The US embassy and other installations were among those put under tight security.

The Al-shabab had threatened to bomb public places in Kenya during this year’s Easter celebrations.

Security personnel responded by increasing patrols throughout the country and keeping vigil on government buildings and public places.

Al-shabab controls large swathes of Somalia and have been engaged in a bruising insurgency against the internationally-backed transitional government, have repeatedly expressed their displeasure with Kenya’s stance on the conflict.