Kenya has had its dark times, just like any country. We have waged through some of the moments we will never wish for even our worst enemy, united in grief, we have soldiered on and overcome all that.
Today we decided to look at some of those incidents which shook the whole nation and it’s not that we are invoking and calling upon the ghosts of our past, we are just documenting history, a history which will be read many years to come and in an easy way and format.
Here are some of the incidents which shook the whole nation
1.1998 US Embassy Bombing
A normal 7th August midmorning in the vibrant Capital City, Nairobi. It’s around 10:30 when suicide bombers invade US Embassies in Nairobi with trucks laden with explosives. A total of 213 people were killed by the blast while around 4,000 people at the site of explosion were either badly wounded or suffered minor injuries. The attack was mainly directed at the American facilities, but majority of the casualties of the blast were local Kenyans going through their work and around 13 Americans were killed too
The blast affected people who were within a 1kilometre radius. Kenyans showed massive unity and love by parading themselves to donate blood for the blast victims.
2.The 2007 Post Election Violence
Maybe this one will go down in history as one of Kenya’s darkest moments. A brother turned against a brother, a neighbour against neighbour and everybody bayed for each other blood. The 2007–08 post-election violence was both a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis that erupted in Kenya after former President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the presidential election held on December 27, 2007.
ODM cited election malpractices and called for mass protests. The country was in a mess and people died like flies. Others were even burnt in churches. Hate increased and mediators like Koffi Annan came to cool the situation, this led to the formation of the coalition government (Nusu Mkate)
After all the madness was over, around 1,500 Kenyans were killed by their fellow Kenyans while another around 200,000 or more were displaced. Kenya learnt a lesson the hard way. During that period, Kenyans fought their ugliest battle in their darkest moments.
3.Sachangwan Fire Tragedy
Kenyans were bidding the harsh month of January goodbye 8 years ago. A quiet village in Molo district,Sachang’wan, was going on with their regular daily chores when disaster struck.
A tanker ferrying unleaded petrol that was headed for Juba overturned at the stretch, about 32 kilometres west of Nakuru town and killed 123 people, disrupting the vibrant and quiet lifestyle of the residents in Sachangwan.
91 were burnt to death at the scene while 32 died later in hospitals. What happened is that after the tanker overturned, residents scrambled for free petrol but the petrol and the tanker burst into flames leading them to an early grave. Kenyans were left in utter shocked.
This incidents showed that Kenyans were so poor and were trying to eke out an easy living out of free petrol but it never was.
4.2012–13 Tana River District clashes
In August 2012, a series of ethnic clashes between the Orma and Pokomo of Tana River District oversaw the deaths of at least 53 people. This was one of the worst tribal clashes since we witnessed one of this kind in 2007-08 post-election violence. After the turmoil was over, 115 people were left dead and more than 13,500 directly displaced
5.The 2013 Westgate Terror Attacks
On Saturday 21 September 2013, unidentified gunmen attacked Westgate shopping mall and took many of the occupants hostages. In an attack which lasted for almost 24 hours, it resulted in at least 67 deaths, and more than 175 people were wounded during the random mass shootings.
Kenyans stood together during this dark moment and were standby to donate blood and help casualties out.
6.The 2014 Mpeketoni Attacks
More than 62 people were killed in Mpeketoni by Al-Shabaab group who later claimed responsibility, that was between 15-17 June 2014. Locals claimed the attacks may have been revenge attacks or they may have been motivated by ethnic and religious hatred and differences or even cases of land grabbing which had increased in the area.
Innocent Kenyans were butchered in cold blood and Kenya shuddered at the level of brutality exhibited.
7.Garissa University Terror Attack
In one of the most cowardly incidences, 5 armed militants raided harmless and unarmed students who were preparing to start their day.
The day was 2 April 2015, gunmen stormed the Garissa University College in Garissa and left 148 students dead in their wake, with more than 80 injured. Alshabaab took responsibility for the attack. The gunmen took over 650 students hostage, randomly freeing Muslims and killing Christians on site. The siege ended the same day after all the attackers were killed. A pensive mood engulfed the country as many parents questioned the whereabouts of their children. Others broke down upon hearing that their children were killed. Our national flag flew half-mast with an abnormal sagging manner as if it was showing grief too.
8.The 2016 Soldiers Massacre In El Adde, Somalia
Al-Shabab militants claimed that they had killed Kenyan soldiers after ambushing their base south of Somalia. By sunset, a number of the soldiers killed had swelled up to 141, with some shot at a point-blank range while others were roasted alive in tankers. That figure was maybe the biggest and most humiliating military defeat for Kenya since our independence. Even after a video of the massacres released by the Alshabaab went viral, the Kenyan authorities gave no exact casualty figure and this drew accusations of a cover-up. Kenyans were united in grief as bodies of the gallant sons of the soil were flown and offloaded one after the other.
These are some of the incidents which shook our Nation but we have since healed, maybe what is remaining is the scars.