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FBI: Tanzania Bomb Evidence Scant

August 18, 1998

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) _ The FBI said today it has questioned more than 100 people about the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania, but indicated most of the interrogations had led nowhere.

``Right now my evidence is scant, and I’m not going to draw conclusions based on that,″ said Kenneth Piernick, the head of the FBI investigation in Dar es Salaam.

He would not elaborate or comment on whether two suspects remained in detention, as was previously reported.

In Nairobi, a top Kenyan police official denied a newspaper report that more arrests had been made in the U.S. Embassy bombing there. Officials said last week that six people were in custody for questioning.

Also today, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright paid tribute to the bombing victims, demonstrating American solidarity after the blasts that targeted U.S. embassies but mostly claimed African lives.

Of the 257 people killed in the twin bombings, just 12 were American _ all killed in the more deadly Nairobi blast. Many Africans are angry they paid so high a price in a dispute they had nothing to do with.

But Tanzanian Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete, speaking at a news conference with Albright, said there were no ill feelings in Tanzania toward Americans.

``The bomb blast has not generated any hatred against ... Americans in Tanzania,″ he said. ``We are friends. America is not the enemy. We know that the perpetrators of the terrorism are the enemy. We both hate them.″

After a five-hour stay in Dar es Salaam, Albright left for another brief stop in Nairobi. She left Tanzania on a smaller plane because the Boeing 747 she had flown in from Washington had mechanical problems.

Media were allowed inside the embassy in Dar es Salaam for the first time since the Aug. 7 explosion and found broken glass and smashed furniture scattered throughout.

``If it had not been constructed the way it was, we would have had a lot of people dead,″ said embassy spokesman Dudley Simms.

Meanwhile, FBI agents pushed ahead today with their investigation into the bombings. In a joint statement with Kenyan police, the bureau said Monday that a suspect who was returned from Pakistan to Nairobi had not admitted any role in the crimes or implicated anyone else.

That conflicted with reports out of Pakistan, where the man was apprehended, which said suspect Mohammed Saddiq Odeh had confessed and named his coconspirators. The reports also said the man had ties to renegade Saudi multimillionaire Osama bin Laden, who is accused of sponsoring terrorist attacks.

About 200 Americans _ nonessential U.S. Embassy staff and their families _ left Pakistan today on orders from Washington following a ``pattern of threats″ against Americans there since the Africa bombings. The diplomats were flown to Brussels, Belgium. Other Americans have also been urged to leave.