U.S. Commercial Officer Riz Khaliq shields Ambassador Bushnell as Foreign Service National George Mimba (right) and Foreign Service Officer Steve Nolan (left) assist in evacuating the ambassador from the site.
U.S. Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, center, is helped by unidentified men, as she is evacuated from the area of the U.S. Embassy following an explosion in downtown Nairobi, Friday, Aug. 7, 1998. Terrorist bombs exploded minutes apart outside the U.S. embassies in both Kenya and Tanzania Friday, killing more than 67 people, injuring 1,100 and turning buildings into mountains of shattered concrete. At least eight Americans were among the dead in Kenya and seven more were missing, U.S. Embassy spokesman Chris Scharf said. Bushnell, was cut on the lip and helped from Cooperative Bank House, near the embassy, where she had just given a news conference, embassy spokesman Bill Barr said.

Ambassador Bushnell: A Profile in Resilience

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WOMAN’S SUITWorn by U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Prudence Bushnell | 1998Gift of U.S. Ambassador Prudence Bushnell

Woman’s suit worn by U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Prudence Bushnell, 1998. Gift of U.S. Ambassador Prudence Bushnell

I was determined that we were going to get through this as a community even if as individuals we staggered and stumbled now and then.”

—U.S. Ambassador Prudence Bushnell

On August 7, 1998, at 10:30 AM, U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania fell victim to coordinated and nearly simultaneous truck bombs – later linked to the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda. At U.S. Embassy Nairobi, Kenya, the explosion reduced the interior of the five-story reinforced concrete chancery to rubble. Over 200 people were killed and an estimated 4,000 wounded. At U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the force of the blast propelled a filled water tanker over three stories into the air, crashing into the chancery building. Eleven people were killed and over 85 people injured. At the time of the bombing, U.S. Ambassador Prudence Bushnell was meeting with the Kenyan Minister of Commerce in the high-rise bank building across from the embassy’s rear parking lot. She attended this meeting with two colleagues from the U.S. Department of Commerce. When the explosion hit, everyone in the meeting was blown to the floor and injured by glass and debris. U.S. Commercial Officer Riz Khaliq assisted Ambassador Bushnell down several flights of stairs and out of the building.

Ambassador Bushnell was wearing this green suit (below) to the meeting at the time of the attack. Still visible on the suit are her blood stains from the head injury she sustained. NMAD commemorated the 20th anniversary of the bombing in 2018. Read more.

American Ambassador to Kenya Prudence Bushnell is overcome by emotion after laying a wreath at the site of the Nairobi U.S. Embassy bombing Wednesday, Aug. 12, 1998. More than 250 people were killed and more than 5,500 were wounded in the twin bombings Friday in Kenya and Tanzania.

American Ambassador to Kenya Prudence Bushnell is overcome by emotion after laying a wreath at the site of the Nairobi U.S. Embassy bombing Wednesday, Aug. 12, 1998. More than 250 people were killed and more than 5,500 were wounded in the twin bombings Friday in Kenya and Tanzania.