Gas Explosion: Security Arrest 3 Kenyan Govt Officials, Others as Death Toll Rises

In a tragic incident that has rocked the community of Embakasi, located in the southeastern part of Nairobi, Kenya, a devastating gas explosion has claimed the lives of six individuals and left approximately 280 others injured.

The catastrophe occurred late last week when a truck carrying gas canisters exploded near a gas depot.

Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) swiftly responded to the incident, conducting thorough investigations which led to the arrest of Derrick Kimathi, identified as the key suspect in the case. Kimathi is reported to have rented the gas depot where the explosion took place.

The DCI also apprehended three officials from the National Environment Management Agency (NEMA), alleging their involvement due to the improper issuance of a license for the LPG filling and storage plant within a densely populated area.

The DCI’s ongoing efforts to bring justice to the victims and their families have also highlighted the search for five additional suspects, including the site manager, two more NEMA employees, and two drivers, who are currently evading capture.

Recall that the incident has sparked widespread criticism of regulatory practices, with President William Ruto condemning the issuance of gas installation licenses in residential zones, attributing such decisions to “incompetence and corruption.” Consequently, Ruto has called for the dismissal and prosecution of those found responsible for such negligent actions.

NEMA has acknowledged granting Maxxis Nairobi Energy permission to operate the gas plant in question in February of the previous year, announcing the suspension of four of its employees as part of its internal response to the catastrophe.

Meanwhile, the explosion not only caused loss of lives but also led to significant property damage, affecting vehicles, businesses, and homes in Embakasi, a bustling residential and industrial area home to nearly one million residents, according to the 2019 census, and situated near Kenya’s international airport.

There have been serious concerns about safety regulations and enforcement in Kenya, with the Petroleum Institute of East Africa revealing that the owner of the gas depot, along with some customers, had faced legal consequences for similar offenses in May 2023.

This tragic event serves as a stark reminder of the critical need for stringent safety measures and robust oversight to prevent future disasters, ensuring the well-being of communities and the environment.


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