Kenya rules out terror in airport blaze, says it's 'simple fire gone bad'

Story highlights

  • Fire at the main Kenyan airport this week destroyed the international terminal
  • It forced the closure of the airport East Africa's largest aviation hub to a standstill
  • No casualties were reported

Kenya ruled out terrorism after a blaze left its main airport in charred ruins this week, describing the incident as a "simple fire gone bad."

There were no reports of casualties in the Wednesday blaze at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The fire destroyed large parts of the international terminal and brought East Africa's largest aviation hub to a standstill.

It occurred on the 15th anniversary of the near-simultaneous terrorist attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which left 224 people dead and thousands injured.

The nation's president, Uhuru Kenyatta, said the blaze was not an act of terror.

"We can now confirm that there was no element of a terror incident in this fire," the president said in a statement Friday. "There is no evidence of an explosion or an improvised explosive device. This was a simple fire gone bad. If anyone is culpable, including for gross negligence, they will be dealt with by the full force of the law."

International flights gradually resumed Thursday.

The effects of the fire reverberated worldwide; Kenya distributes a third of all flowers in Europe through the airport with a special emphasis on rose production.

    The airport also offers connections to Europe, the Middle East and other African nations, with about 16,000 passengers passing through daily, officials said.