Police launch probe after JKIA bomb scare

Airport was temporarily closed on Wednesday following the scare

In Summary

• The airport was temporarily closed on Wednesday

• One passenger, who was on board a KQ plane, was arrested and is being questioned 

Kenya Airways planes at JKIA
Kenya Airways planes at JKIA

A passenger is being questioned in connection with a bomb scare at JKIA.

The passenger was on board a Kenya Airways plane. KQ head of communications Dennis Kashero in a statement confirmed the passenger was in police custody.

The airport was temporarily closed on Wednesday as a result of the scare.

Sources said the incident happened at around 1pm, when a confrontation ensued between a flight attendant and the passenger.

A source said the passenger mentioned the word bomb in the argument, causing a panic.

“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,” Kashero said in the statement to newsrooms.

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

The intelligence brief indicated that Amniyaat has dispatched four improvised explosive devices to be delivered to four of its operatives in Dadajabula, Garissa county.

KAA boss 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 the explosives may be snuggled into 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," Kaleli said.

 "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 Somalia-bound aircraft are usually screened.

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