Bloodied clothes littered streets, bodies hung out of windows

Click to follow
The Independent Online
IN NAIROBI, the blast at 10:35 a.m. (0735 GMT) toppled the four- storey Ufundi Co-operative building on top of the US embassy. Windows 10 blocks away were shattered. Several people on two passing buses were killed by shrapnel, witnesses said. Bloodied clothing and papers littered the streets ascrowds crawled over a moun- tain of twisted and broken concrete and metal looking for victims, calling out and waving for help to free trapped people.

Bodies were draped out of the windows of a charred bus. Mangled cars were smouldering on the street amid the debris. Dazed and bloody survivors lay until rescuers led them away. Passers-by joined the rescuers, and others ferried the injured to hospitals in cars. More than 1,100 people were being treated in three hospitals.

In Dar es Salaam, blackened debris was strewn around the US embassy and at the front of the building was a mangled, scorched car wreck.

"Everyone's shocked. Very scared," said a US official at the embassy. "Our families are waking up this very moment to hear about the bomb. You can imagine how worried they are."

One witness, Jim Owen told CNN: "Glass was flying ... I found myself about 5 feet (1.5 meters) from where I was sitting." He said one woman was injured when a wall collapsed on her, and another had her nose ripped off.

Officials in the US, Kenya and Tanzania refused to speculate on who was responsible. "All we can say is if any of our people or embassies are being targeted, we are not going to tolerate it," said Bill Richardson, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The US ambassador to Kenya, Prudence Bushnell, was cut on the lip and helped from the ruins of the Co-operative Bank House, where she had just given a news conference, said US Embassy spokesman Bill Barr.

As night fell in Dar es Salaam, the US embassy building, two miles north of the city centre and near the Indian Ocean shore guarded by US Marines and Tanzanian riot police.

In Nairobi, rescuers toiled among the debris beneath huge studio lights illuminating the wrecked embassy.