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A general view show the damage after an explosion at a makeshift gas cylinder refilling depot in Mradi estate, Embakasi district, in Nairobi, Kenya, February 2, 2024. REUTERS/Monicah Mwangi

Kenya arrests ‘prime suspect’ in deadly gas blast

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Kenyan police said onTuesday that they arrested a suspect in a deadly gas explosion in a densely populated area of Nairobi last week.

Six people died and around 280 were injured when a truck loaded with gas canisters exploded in Embakasi, in the southeast of the Kenyan capital, late Thursday.

Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) said in a statement on X, that its investigators have arrested the “prime suspect” who rented the gas depot where the blast occurred.

“To ensure that justice has had its way, the DCI teams that are investigating the dreadful incident have so far arrested main suspect Derrick Kimathi alongside three NEMA officials who were found culpable,” it added.

Officials from the National Environment Management Agency (NEMA) have been accused of wrongly giving a license for the LPG filling and storage plant in a densely populated area.

“Five other suspects are still at large and are wanted by the DCI to answer to their crimes that have caused untold physical and emotional suffering to fellow Kenyans,” the DCI statement said, accompanied by photographs of the suspects.

These include the site manager, another two NEMA employees, a truck driver, and another driver, it said.

President William Ruto, without mentioning NEMA, said at the weekend that licenses had been wrongly issued for gas installations in residential areas “because of incompetence and corruption”.

Ruto said those responsible should be sacked and “prosecuted for the crimes they have committed”.

On Saturday, NEMA said that a company, Maxxis Nairobi Energy, had obtained a permit to operate a gas plant at the site in February last year.

It said it had suspended four of its employees.


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