One hero, who was caught up in the mayhem, refused to let the thugs win and did all that he could to save and help those trapped in the building to safety.
Joseph Martin, a US National, who had survived the blast, returned into the building three times in an attempt to help those stuck.
Martin had officially moved to Nairobi in 1996 to head the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Office based in Kenya. At the time, he was tasked with conducting refugee interviews across Africa to help with their resettlement.
“From 1996 to 2002 he headed the INS office in Nairobi, Kenya, from where he traveled across Africa conducting refugee interviews for resettlement in the US.
“In 1998, Joe survived the terrorist bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi, and, after escaping, went back inside the building three times to rescue survivors,” read an obituary of him on Legacy.com, a memorials website headquartered in the US that has over 30 million monthly unique visitors.
Martin’s service to others did not end there. In the years that followed, he helped in the re-establishment of the immigration office at the Embassy and received an award for his efforts.
“In 1999, he received the Newton-Azrak award for Heroism from the INS Commissioner and in 2000 he received the US Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service for his ‘extraordinary courage,'” continued the statement.
Born in 1950, Martin joined the service in 1977 by serving in the Peace Corps before moving to Guatemala in 1979 as an agricultural specialist working on soil conservation and reforestation.
After the blast, Martin, alongside other senior officials established the Refugee Officer Corps within the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency of DHS in 2005.
He was posted to head the office in Beijing, China, at around the same time. He passed away on March 26, 2020, in Glen Burnie, Maryland.
The 1998 Nairobi bomb blast left over 200 people dead while 5,000 others sustained injuries.