Foul play probe into Kenya explosion

June 17, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 17 – Police have launched investigations following reports that Tuesday’s oil tanker accident in Kericho was organised by the lorry’s crew.

Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti said on Wednesday that officers were investigating reports that the “crew may have stage managed the accident to justify the loss of fuel they may have emptied at a depot.”

The accident at Kapsoit trading centre on the Kericho-Kisumu road led to one death and over 30 injuries, after the tanker exploded as villagers rushed to siphon the fuel.

“At the time this particular vehicle overturned, it had very little fuel than the initial quantity it was carrying. Therefore, we want to know what had happened,” he told reporters at Wilson Airport when he received some 13 survivors of the fuel tanker tragedy.

They were taken to Nairobi hospital, Mater and Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

One person succumbed to injuries early Wednesday at the Kericho district hospital where he was undergoing treatment.

35 others were still admitted there and were said to be in a stable condition.

“We are therefore, looking for the driver and turn boy who were in this particular oil tanker to tell us what happened,” he said.

A senior police officer told Capital News that investigations had shown the crew had emptied fuel from the tanker before they reached Kapsoit where they allegedly stage-managed the accident.

“It looks like they wanted to justify the loss of fuel that was in their possession. It was not by accident the fuel tanker overturned,” the officer said.

Prof Saitoti told journalists “there was credible evidence suggesting that the fuel that was in the tanker at the time it overturned was less that was expected.”

“This appears to be a trend that has been going on. Oil tanker drivers stage-manage accidents after siphoning fuel,” he said when he led other senior government officials to receive 13 survivors who were airlifted to Nairobi in two military choppers.

Two of them aged between 13 and 15 years old were in a critical condition and were immediately rushed to the Nairobi and Kenyatta National Hospitals for specialised treatment.

“The condition of the two is serious but the remaining 11 are not badly off,” deputy director of the National Disaster Management Operations Col Joseph King’ori said.

Prof Saitoti told reporters it was “unfortunate that Kenyans would still rush to accident scenes to siphon fuel even after the Sachangwan-Molo tragedy that left over 100 people killed four months ago.”

“It is our appeal once again that Kenyans should be sensitised. They should be careful and realize the need to stay away from accident scenes, particularly involving highly inflammable commodities like fuel,” he warned.


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