List of Darkest Events in Kenya Since Independence

Kenya has always enjoyed her peace and prosperity since independence. Tragic events have also been part of the process. However, these tragic events proved to be the deadliest giving a clear picture of Kenya’s darkest moments.

1.1982 Coup Attempt

The coup d’etat attempt took place on 1st August 1982 where a group of soldiers headed by Senior Private Hezekiah Ochuka and Sargent Pancras Oteyo Okumu wanted to overthrow the government led by retired president Daniel Arap Moi. They, however, did not succeed due to poor planning and execution. More than 200 Kenyans and 100 soldiers lost their lives during the coup. The perpetrators were captured and charged at the court-martial. Over 900 soldiers were jailed and 12 among them Hezekiah Ochuka and Pancras Okumu were sentenced to death.

2.Wagalla massacre

This was a massacre of ethnic Somalis by the Kenyan security forces on 10 February 1984 at Wagalla Airstrip in Wajir County. The military forces raided the area to disarm the locals from a clan related conflict; Degodia and Adjuran. According to multiple reports, more than 3000 lives we lost during the operation.

3. August 7th 1998 Bombing

On that date between 10:30 -10: 40 am a bomb detonated outside the Nairobi United States Embassy killing 213 people and over 4000 wounded. It was later established that Al- Quida and Egyptian Islamic Jihad were behind the attack. Many Kenyans were affected despite the attack targeting the United States. The building has since been repaired and a memorial park constructed including a wall bearing names of those who died.

A similar attack took place at the US embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania almost the same time killing 11 and injuring 85.

4.Post-election violence 2007-2008

The violence which saw over 1150 people lose their lives, at least 300,000 internally displaced and destruction of private and public property was as a result of strong geographical and ethnic diversity in Kenyan politics. The government headed by retired president Mwai Kibaki was ”perceived” to have rigged the December 27th 2007 election against Raila Odinga who had overwhelming support from Kenyans. A coalition government was finally created after Kibaki and Raila signed the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008-A power-sharing agreement after weeks of unrest. This was after a successful mediation headed by former United Nations Secretary-General, the late Kofi Annan.

5.Westgate Shopping Mall Attack

21st September 2013 saw Kenya face yet another terror attack at the Westgate Shopping Mall located in Westlands, Nairobi. Four men, masked and armed made their way inside the mall. 67 people lost their lives and about 200 were seriously wounded in an attack that lasted over 48 hours. The incident came as retaliation from Al-Shabaab after Operation Linda Nchi which was launched by Kenya Defence Force and Somalia Military against the group.[irp posts=”11077″ name=”Kenya National Police Service Badges of Ranks 2019″]

6. Garissa University College Attack

The attack took place at Garissa University College on 2nd April 2015 at around 5:30 am in the morning. Four gunmen from the terror group Al-Shabaab took over 700 students hostage killing 148 students and leaving over 70 injured. The attack lasted 15 hours before all the attackers were killed. The attack is the second deadliest after the August 7th 1998 bombing at the US embassy. Reports claim that Samantha Lewthwaite a British woman from the Al-Quida group masterminded the attack.

7. Sachangwan Tragedy

This is probably one of the deadliest accidents to ever happen in Kenya where a fuel tanker overturned after being parked at Sachangwan town on 31st Jan 2009 caught fire killing 110 people and over 100 sustaining serious injuries from the flames. The tanker burst into flames two hours after overturning. It was Alleged that the fire was intentionally sparked by angry residents who wanted a share of the oil spill from the tanker but were blocked by the police.[irp posts=”19042″ name=”Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Recruitment Requirements 2019″]

8. Mpeketoni Attack

This one occurred between 15 June and 17 June 2014 where more than 60 people were killed.  Around 50 heavily-armed gunmen stormed the coastal town and randomly started to shoot at civilians. Several buildings in Mpeketoni were burned down including hotels, restaurants, banks and government offices. Somalia-based militant group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility.

9. Tana River District clashes

These were a series of ethnic clashes between the Orma and Pokomo in Tana River district which claimed more than 118 lives. The August 2012 deadly attacks saw militiamen from the Pokomo raid Orma manyattas at Reketa area and slashed villagers to death before setting their houses on fire. Sixty cows were also slashed during the clashes.

10. El Adde Attack

The January 15, 2016 ambush on a Kenyan-run AMISOM army base in the town of El Adde, Somalia left more than 173 soldiers dead. The attack began at dawn with an explosion by a suicide car bomber at the gate of the base followed by an exchange of heavy fire. Somali militant group Al-Shabab claimed responsibility. It remains as one of the country’s darkest battleground losses.

Bob Kipkoech

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