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Kenya restores flight operations after false bomb scare

Christian Fernsby |
Kenyan airport authorities said normal flight operations at the country's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport have resumed hours after a false bomb alarm forced Kenya Airways to abort take-off.

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Earlier on Wednesday, a commotion began after an argument between a passenger and a flight attendant. The passenger mentioned the word 'bomb' during the argument, causing a scare in the plane, which was taxing ready for take-off.

Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) said the 1 pm incident has since been resolved after the passenger was arrested.

"We would like to clarify to the general public that flight operations at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport are up and running," KAA said in a statement.

Kenya Airways said it was notified of a possible bomb threat on one of its flights.

"The unfortunate bomb scare incident was reported on flight KQ 762, which was departing from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for OR-Tambo International Airport Johannesburg," Kenya Airways head of communications Dennis Kashero said in a statement.

Kashero said the passenger who raised the bomb scare has been taken into police custody, noting that all other passengers and crew had to disembark for security re-screening. He said the aircraft had also to undergo extensive security checks.

Kashero said the national carrier's core value is the safety of its passengers.

"We work closely with the relevant law enforcement agencies, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and the Kenya Airports Authority to counter any security threats to our passengers and the country," he said.

The latest incident comes after the Kenya Airports Authority received intelligence that al-Shabab terror group was planning to attack airports during the Easter holiday.

The intelligence brief indicated that the terror group has dispatched four attackers with improvised explosive devices which were to be delivered to four of its operatives in Garissa County in northeast Kenya.

"The smuggled IEDs are small, round and magnetic and are intended to be attached to vehicles. Measures shall include screening for both persons and vehicles using Explosives Trace Detectors where available, explosive canines where available, random searches, enhanced patrols within public areas," KAA said.

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