Kenya: 9 officials to be arrested over dam break that killed 47

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Kenya’s public prosecutor says nine people will be arrested over the collapse of a dam that killed 47 in May.

Two farm managers and several government officials are among those facing charges of manslaughter and neglected their duty, following investigations into the tragedy.  Public prosecutor Noordin Haji says investigators determined the dam was constructed by unqualified staff while environmental laws were also broken.

Manslaughter charges over dam break

In May, the dam known as Patel, Milmet or Solai dam burst after heavy rains, releasing 70 million litres of water upon homes and farmland located 190km (120 miles) from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

At the time, local media described a wall of water 1.5m high and 500m wide destroying everything in its path – including crops, homes, schools and power cables.

A total of 47 people were killed by the flood, most of whom were swept up in the powerful tide. One local man told reporters how he managed to save his wife and two sons, but lost his two daughters to the waters.

Following the dam burst, its owner Mansukhlal Kansagra Patel denied reports that the structure was built illegally, insisting his farm has all the proper permissions required before construction began – something investigators have deemed to be untrue.

Featured image: By Jorge Láscar – Nairobi city hall and clock tower, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15862095

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.