Six people died in the disaster and 280 others were injured in Thursday's explosion in a residential area of Nairobi.
Kenyan police said Tuesday they had arrested the main suspect in a deadly gas explosion that triggered a huge fireball in a densely populated area of Nairobi last week.
Six people died in the disaster and around 280 others were injured when a truck loaded with gas canisters exploded in the Embakasi district on Thursday evening.
Kenya's Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) said in a statement published on X that its investigators had arrested the “prime suspect” who rented the gas depot where the explosion occurred.
“To ensure justice is served, DCI teams investigating this horrific incident have so far arrested the main suspect, Derrick Kimathi, alongside three NEMA officials who have been found guilty,” adds the press release.
Officials of the National Environment Management Agency (NEMA) have been accused of wrongly granting a license for an LPG filling and storage plant in such a densely populated area.
“Five other suspects remain at large and are being sought by the DCI to answer for their crimes which have caused untold physical and emotional suffering to their fellow Kenyans,” said the DCI statement, accompanied by photographs of the suspects.
These include the site manager, two other NEMA employees, a truck driver and another driver, the statement said.
On Tuesday, Nairobi Governor Sakaja Johnson ordered the closure of all gas companies operating in residential areas of the city.
President William Ruto, without mentioning NEMA, said at the weekend that licenses had been wrongly issued for gas installations in residential areas “due to incompetence and corruption”.
Ruto said those responsible should be sacked and “prosecuted for the crimes they committed”.
NEMA had said on Saturday that a company, Maxxis Nairobi Energy, had obtained a permit to operate a gas plant at the site in February last year. It announced that it had suspended four of its employees.
The huge blaze left a trail of destruction in the residential and industrial area, destroying vehicles, commercial premises and homes.
Embakasi has a population of around one million according to the 2019 census and is close to the Kenya International Airport.