Embakasi explosion: Nema official detained in blast probe

Police have arrested one of the directors at the National Environmental Management Authority even as they continued to look for more suspects behind the incident.

Nairobi police commander Adamson Bungei confirmed the arrest and declared the hunt for the rest is ongoing.

“Those who are supposed to help in this probe know themselves and are asked to surrender. We are however pursuing them,” he said.

He said an autopsy on the bodies is planned as part of the probe into the deaths.

Police plan to among others charge those targeted with murder.

Many people were left with serious injuries and are hoping to be compensated by the owners of the yard and the government.

More than 300 people were injured and are being treated in various hospitals around the city.

The death toll from the Mradi gas explosion in Embakasi, Nairobi increased to six after three more victims succumbed to their burns in hospital.

The victims had sustained serious injuries and were admitted to the Kenyatta National Hospital where they succumbed, officials said.

Dozens of other victims have serious burns and are admitted to various hospitals in the city following the Thursday night explosion at a filling station.

They include at least 20 who were referred to KNH, which means they had serious burns.

Police said they are pursuing at least seven suspects in connection to the incident.

The suspects include the proprietor of the gas filling plant, his partner and the driver of the truck suspected to have caused the explosion whom they are yet to confirm whether he escaped or was among the casualties.

Others are three Nema officials who were suspended for allegedly issuing a licence illegally to the company.

This is after a deputy director in charge of compliance at Nema was Sunday arrested over the incident.

The owner of the gas filling plant through his lawyer Wandugi Kirathe has denied claims, saying he has been cooperating with police officers investigating the matter.

“It is important to note that our client is not in hiding, he is available, he is within the public and has been in touch with sections of the police,” Kirathe said.

The proprietor further denied reports that the site where the incident occurred was an illegal gas plant stating that for years it was a garage.

Police handling the issue, however, said the garage specialised in repairing only trucks transporting Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) raising more suspicion.

The proprietor is in the business of transporting LPG products.

He had last year he made applications to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) to get a licence to operate a gas filling plant in the area but the applications were rejected.

He argues that he shelved the idea after Epra rejected his applications because the site was not viable due to its closeness to the public.

Residents say the place was an illegal gas filling plant which was preferred for its cheaper gas.

Following the incident, the government announced a raft of measures to ensure compliance in the sector.

They include undertaking a fresh risk assessment for all LPG plants with the view of closing all non-compliant sites, demolishing all illegal sites, an immediate rollout of a government LPG growth strategy and strengthening the LPG data verification framework, among other measures.

There has been a blame game since the deadly explosion occurred. The agencies involved in the industry have been blaming each other.

Source: The Star

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