Four appear at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi

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Four suspects have been arraigned in court in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, over a gas explosion that killed six people and injured nearly 300.

A lorry carrying gas cylinders blew up just before midnight in a densely populated area of the city last Thursday, causing several fires.

The main suspect, the tenant of the property where the blast happened, surrendered to the police on Monday.

Derrick Kimathi has denied any wrongdoing.

He appeared at the Milimani Law Courts, along with three officials of the National Environment Management Authority (Nema).

They are yet to be charged, but the authorities are considering bringing several charges against them, including murder, abuse of office and negligence resulting in harm, Kenya’s NTV channel reported.

Their court arraignment comes days after President William Ruto ordered the arrest and prosecution of government officials who allowed the gas plant to illegally operate in a residential area “because of incompetence and corruption”.

Kimathi denied that he operated an illegal gas filling business at the site of the blast, his lawyer, Wandugi Kirathe, said on Monday.

“The motor vehicle that caused this incident was trespassing into his property without his knowledge and consent,” Mr Kirathe said.

Authorities are pursuing five additional suspects, including two employees of Nema, the manager of the gas filling plant and two drivers.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) said the suspects’ actions “caused untold physical and emotional suffering to fellow Kenyans”.

Homes, businesses and cars were damaged in the blast.

A child was among those who died, police said.

Some 271 people were taken to hospital, according to the authorities, including at least 25 children.

The environmental officials named as suspects had been suspended by Nema last week after being accused of illegally licensing the gas plant.

There have been growing public demands for accountability, while government agencies have been blaming each other over what went wrong.

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