USIS Washington File

13 August 1998


(FBI-police teams working with counterparts in Tanzania) (700)
By Jacquelyn S. Porth
USIA Security Affairs Writer

WASHINGTON -- More than 20 joint Kenyan-U.S.investigative teams have
fanned out in Nairobi to interview witnesses and victims to develop
leads in the effort to identify suspects in the August 7 terrorist
bombing of the American Embassy.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Agent-in-Charge Sheila Horan
told reporters in Nairobi August 13 that the joint investigation is
organized into two distinct components: the investigation phase which
involves interviews and interrogations, as well another stage driven
by the collection of forensic evidence.

Each team, composed of one Kenyan police officer and one FBI special
agent, is involved in the investigation. They are interviewing "to
extract the greatest amount of detail with regard to what people saw
and heard at the time of the explosion," Horan said. They are also
interviewing witnesses, those who were wounded, people who remain
hospitalized, anyone who had business in the neighborhood surrounding
the Cooperative Bank (Ufundi) House and the United States Embassy, as
well as those who have come forward "contacting us...with

The establishment of telephone hotlines by the Kenyan police
authorities have prompted the public to come forward with information
and statements which she said are assisting the investigation greatly.

At the same time, Horan said the forensic teams have had "some
success" already in the tedious task of "sifting through tremendous
piles of debris in an effort to come up with that piece of evidence
which we can use to complete this investigation." She noted that this
involves "the exhaustive task of searching the building and literally
sifting through piles of rubble for evidence" of the explosion -- some
of it literally blocks away from the bombing site. She said, for
example, investigators believe they have been able to identify
"certain parts" of the vehicle that delivered the deadly terrorist

Horan refused to speculate on the size of the bomb which destroyed
parts of the Ufundi House and the American embassy. "We need to send
evidence back to the FBI laboratory in Washington to assess the
chemical residues on suspected pieces of evidence in order to extract
what could tell us details about that," she said in reply to a
reporter's question.

The first FBI agents arrived on the scene in East Africa on August 8
where they were met with the full cooperation of the entire Kenyan
government and police establishment, Horan said. "This aggressive
spirit of cooperation continues to be visible in all aspects of our
investigation," she said. Even though the investigation is still in
its earliest phases, the official acknowledged that "very critical and
important information" has been accumulated already.

Asked if any clues have been found yet to link the terrorist blast in
Kenya to the nearly simultaneous attack in Tanzania, Horan said there
is a temptation to link the two bombings, but she refused to speculate
further. "We are working very closely with our teams in Dar es
Salaam," she said, "and sharing that information back and forth."

Horan said FBI Director Louis Freeh has contacted Kenyan Police
Commissioner Duncan Wachira to pledge "the full sharing of resources
in forging an effective investigative partnership between our
agencies." Horan said her agency is committed to pursuing this
investigation with the Kenyan police until it reaches its conclusion.

Peter Mbuvi, deputy commissioner of Kenya's Department of Criminal
Investigation echoed her sentiment during the press conference by
pointing out that all aspects of the investigation are being conducted
jointly from beginning to end, including the interrogation of five
individuals already in custody for "suspicious activities."

Horan pledged "the commitment and resources of the FBI in identifying
those who are responsible for this malicious act and to bring them to
justice." Toward that end, she said the FBI is monitoring very closely
all terrorist "targets of interest."

Horan also expressed "the deepest sympathy and compassion on behalf of
the members of the FBI family to each Kenyan citizen and each member
of the U.S. diplomatic community who has experienced a personal loss
or injury as the result of this tragedy."