Police probe explosion at Kenya airport; no injuries

NAIROBI Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:08am EST

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NAIROBI (Reuters) - Police are investigating an explosion at Nairobi international airport that panicked travelers but caused no injuries, a police spokesman said on Friday, a day after the incident.

Kenyan media suggested the blast on Thursday night was caused by an explosive device, but police have blamed the incident on a faulty bulb falling into a rubbish bin at a coffee shop near a departures area.

Many residents are wary after gunmen stormed a shopping mall in Nairobi in September, killing at least 67 people. The Somali Islamist group al Shabaab said it was behind that mall assault and that more attacks could follow.

One witness, speaking to Kenya's NTV channel, said a first explosion was followed moments later by another bang that prompted travelers to flee for cover. It cited "sources" saying the blast was caused by an explosive device.

"Our officers are investigating," police spokesman Masoud Mwinyi said, echoing comments by senior officers that a bulb was to blame but said the probe was "to dispel any fears or concerns of the public, so that we can give them conclusive information".

The Daily Nation said on its website police were investigating a car found in Nairobi riddled with bullets and with a dead body inside an hour after the blast, following reports a car had been shot at for failing to stop when leaving the airport.

Mwinyi said police were seeking to eliminate a car from the probe, but did not give details about the vehicle.

The Daily Nation said preliminary investigations suggested the blast was caused by an explosive device hidden in luggage.

The main arrivals area of the airport was wrecked in a huge blaze in August which officials blamed on faulty electrics.

(Writing by Edmund Blair; editing by Andrew Roche)

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