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US Embassy Bombing Death Toll Drops

October 8, 1998

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ The death toll in the Aug. 7 bombing of the U.S. Embassy has been revised downward to 213 because some of the bodies were accidentally counted twice, the head of a relief fund for victims said today.

The new tally brings the number of dead in Kenya and a simultaneous embassy bombing in Tanzania to 224 people, including 12 Americans.

Erastus Mwongera, an official with the Kenyan relief fund, said after the blast in downtown Nairobi, all bodies were initially taken to the mortuary run by the city.

``But families with means then found the bodies of their relatives and took them to other, private mortuaries where they were counted again,″ said Mwongera, head of the Bomb Blast National Funeral Committee.

He said the errors became evident as a committee administering a national disaster relief fund came across duplicated names when it was preparing compensation payments of about $1,670 to victims’ next-of-kin. The fund had collected $3.8 million so far.

The previous figure for the number of dead in the Nairobi attack was 248. The nearly simultaneous blast at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania killed 11 people, all Africans, and injured another 70.

A U.S. federal district court in Manhattan indicted four suspects Wednesday in the Nairobi bombing.

The 48-page indictment, which supersedes previous court papers filed in the case, marked the first time authorities have linked the suspects in one terror plot. Until Wednesday, they had been charged separately.

Unlike previous indictments, it charges three of the suspects with more than 200 counts of murder _ one for ``each and every victim of the embassy bombings,″ U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White said.

Named in the latest indictment were four alleged followers of Saudi exile Osama bin Laden: Mohamed Sadeek Odeh, Mohamed Rashed Daoud Al-’Owhali, Haroun Fazil and Wadih El Hage, a U.S. citizen.

Fazil is a fugitive, and El Hage is charged with lying to a grand jury and the FBI about his ties to bin Laden but not with murder.

A magistrate’s court in Dar es Salaam has charged Tanzanian Rashid Saleh Hemed and Egyptian Mustafa Mahmoud Said Ahmed with 11 counts of murder in the embassy bombing there.