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Son of Kenyan al Qaeda victim: 'Finally, the day has come'

From David McKenzie, CNN
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Kenyan's bin Laden closure
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mary Muriuki was killed by an al Qaeda bomb in Nairobi in 1998
  • Her son Charles visits a memorial to the bomb victims twice a week
  • Charles says he feels "happy and comforted" by bin Laden's death

Nairobi, Kenya (CNN) -- For 10 years, twice a week, Charles Muriuki has come to the same spot in downtown Nairobi to grieve and reflect. Each time, he sits on a park bench at a simple memorial and remembers his mother.

"My mom left home at 10 in the morning that day, and she never came back. Never ever," Muriuki says.

Muriuki's mother had gone to deposit money at a bank next to the U.S. embassy. She never reached the bank. At 10.30 on August 7, 1998, al Qaeda terrorists detonated a bomb housed in a truck at the entrance to the embassy.

The powerful blast ripped through the five-story building and partially destroyed the neighboring office tower. A few moments earlier a similar attack occurred at the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The attacks put al Qaeda on the map and Osama bin Laden on the FBI's "most wanted" list. But, as with 9/11, the impact was felt most by the victims and their families.

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Hundreds were killed in the attacks and thousands left injured. In Nairobi, most were just ordinary Kenyans going about their business.

Muriuki's family only found his mother's body after three days in a mortuary. She was so badly cut and drained of blood that she was barely recognizable.

Mary Muriuki was the pillar of the family. She left eight children and a husband. Shattered by loss he started to drink.

Charles Muriuki came to blame just one person for their troubles: Osama bin Laden.

"Life since then has been different and all the time I was hearing 'Osama, Osama, Osama,'" he says. "Finally, the day has come. This should be a warning to all of them out there. Justice will always prevail."

As soon as Muriuki heard that bin Laden had been killed he rushed straight to the memorial, at the site where the U.S. embassy once stood. He sat in the same spot he always sits.

Somehow, his family moved past their tragedy. But now, he says, he has closure.

"God gave me the strength to endure," he says. "Finally, here I am: I am a married man, I am a father of two and I have seen Osama going six-feet under. I am happy and I feel comforted."

 
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