Kenya airport body replacing chief after fire

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The board of directors from the body that manages Kenya’s airports said Thursday the group’s managing director will be replaced, an announcement that comes a week after a massive fire gutted the international arrivals hall at Kenya’s main airport.

Mutuma Mugambi, the chairman of the Kenya Airports Authority board of directors, said the board is looking for a replacement for Stephen Gichuki, whose contract ends in October.

Nduva Muli, a board member, said Gichuki is not being fired but that his contract is up.

Officials said last week’s fire was initially small and was put out, then re-ignited and grew into an inferno.

A government official close to the investigation, which is being assisted by FBI agents and U.S. and Canadian fire marshals, says evidence on the cause of the fire points toward an electrical malfunction.

The official, who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly on the issue, said investigators are yet to find the exact point where the fire started but have narrowed it to four rooms at the international arrivals building.

The airport fire brought sharp focus on the security and safety standards at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport or JKIA. Fire fighters were criticized for a slow response and for not having working equipment.

Officials investigating the blaze said last week first responders stole electronics and money from an ATM.

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