News / Africa

Africans React to Death of Osama bin Laden

Kenyans watch U.S. President Barack Obama on television in Nairobi, Kenya, announcing the death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, Monday, May 2, 2011
Kenyans watch U.S. President Barack Obama on television in Nairobi, Kenya, announcing the death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, Monday, May 2, 2011

There is mixed reaction in Africa to the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Osama bin Laden's deadliest strike in Africa was the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that together killed 224 people.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki said the al-Qaida leader's death is an "act of justice" for the victims of the Nairobi bombing and commended all those involved in tracking down and killing bin Laden.

In Morocco, where the government blames last week's bombing in Marrakech on an al-Qaida affiliated group, Communications Minister Khalid Naciri said the entire world suffered from bin Laden and the organization he created. Naciri said the Moroccan people find no legitimacy whatsoever in killing innocent people and destabilizing international relations.

South Africa's government reacted cautiously to the news with a brief statement noting President Barack Obama's announcement of the killing. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation reaffirmed South Africa's support for stemming the "demon of terrorism in all its manifestations" through what it called "the system of global governance of multi-lateralism."

In Nigeria, security consultant Evawere Oyede said reaction to bin Laden's death is mixed. "Some people see it as a relief. While some people see it as a man who was trying to fight the Western world. Many people saw Osama as a hero. That America, with all its intelligence, for almost 10 years the man has been elusive," said Oyede.

Nigerian businessman Andrew Ejiro Cross said bin Laden's death is highly regrettable because the Obama administration should have disarmed him and brought him before a court. Cross said the United States is guilty of summary execution after using bin Laden during the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

"Osama bin Laden was a businessman who was looking for money. The Americans used him. After using him now they have killed him.  What is the benefit of killing him? Once America hates you, they must make sure you die," said Cross.

Uganda's government welcomed bin Laden's death as a "momentous event," with spokesman Fred Opolot pledging that Ugandan troops in an African Union force in Somalia will continue to fight the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Shabaab militia.

An al-Shabaab spokesman threatened revenge attacks for bin Laden's death. Kenyan authorities say they are tightening security along the Somali border.

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