JKIA temporarily closed after bomb scare

In Summary

• Incident happened at around 1pm

• KQ 762 flight was headed for Johannesburg 

Kenya Airways plane capture leaving JKIA
Kenya Airways plane capture leaving JKIA
Image: FILE

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport was on Wednesday temporarily closed following a bomb scare in one of Kenya Airways' planes.

Sources said the incident happened at around 1pm when a confrontation ensued between the flight attendant and one of the passengers.

According to the source, the said passenger who has since been arrested mentioned the word bomb in an argument, making passengers panic.

KQ head of communications Dennis Kashero in a statement said the passenger was in police custody for questioning.

“At approximately 1300 GMT today Kenya Airways was notified of a possible bomb threat on one of our flights. The unfortunate bomb scare incident was reported on flight KQ 762, which was departing from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for OR-Tambo International Airport Johannesburg,” he said in a statement to newsrooms.

He added, “KQ would like to report that the passenger who raised the bomb scare has been taken into police custody. All the other passengers and crew have disembarked for security re-screening and the aircraft is undergoing extensive security checks”.

Karesho said the national carrier’s core value is the safety of its passengers.

“We work closely with the relevant law enforcement agencies, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and the Kenya Airports Authority to counter any security threats to our passengers and the country,” he said.

Earlier on, the Kenya Airports Authority received intelligence that Somalia-based terror group was planning to attack airports during the Easter holiday.

The intelligence brief indicated that Amniyaat terror group has dispatched four Improvised Explosive Devices to be delivered to four of its operatives in Dadajabula  in Garissa county.

KAA MD Colonel Solomon Kaleli said the smuggled IEDs are small, round and magnetic and are intended to be attached to vehicles.

He said the alert already shared with various security operatives indicated that the explosives maybe snuggled into other major towns and crowded places.

"I have directed all airports and airstrip managers to convene security meetings with security stakeholders urgently in their respective stations to map out security strategies on how to mitigate the threat," he said.

He added, "Measures shall include screening for both persons and vehicles using Explosives Trace Detectors where available, explosive canines where available, random searches, enhanced patrols within public areas".

In January 2019, a smoke  grenade was discovered in the washrooms at the airport.

A cleaner raised the alarm after he came across a red metallic gadget next to the transit lounge where Somali bound aircraft are usually screened.

“It was on the toilet breather,” he said in a statement taken by JKIA Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) boss Joseph Ngisa.