Tears at Africa embassies bombing inquest

WITNESSES wept and a US marine recalled being blown off his feet.

This came during testimony yesterday about the bombing of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya on August 7, 1998.

“I remember saying a short prayer. I said ‘God, please help me’,” Nairobi embassy worker George Mimba told the court, as he recounted the minutes after the truck-bomb exploded. “I knew my time was up.”

The 44-year-old, afraid his body would be burned beyond recognition, dragged himself to a smashed wall and jumped one storey to the ground.

“I wanted to have my body found, so my father can know it was me,” he said. “So I closed my eyes and threw myself out.”

The accused in the al-Qa’ida plot, which killed 224 people and wounded thousands, is Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani.

The slightly-built Tanzanian in his mid-30s faces 286 criminal counts, including murder and conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction.

Another witness, Edward Rutahesherwa, a guard at the Dar-es-Salaam embassy, wept as prosecutors showed him the remains of an ID card belonging to a colleague he had found mortally wounded that day.

“I found him with a piece of metal rod in the side of his head and part of his leg dangling,” he recalled. “He was asking for help.”

Brian Johnson, a US marines guard at the Tanzania embassy, was in the bathroom when the bomb hit. “I was knocked off my feet,” he said.

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