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KOCHI, India: Relatives mourn around coffins containing the bodies of people who died in the Mangaf fire upon their arrival at Cochin International Airport on June 14, 2024. – AFP
KOCHI, India: Relatives mourn around coffins containing the bodies of people who died in the Mangaf fire upon their arrival at Cochin International Airport on June 14, 2024. – AFP

8 detained over Mangaf fire amid bldg inspections

KUWAIT: The public prosecution on Wednesday ordered the detention for two weeks of eight people, a Kuwaiti, four Egyptians and three Indians for two weeks in connection with the Mangaf fire that killed 49 people, mostly Indians. The prosecution has interrogated the eight men on charges of manslaughter, wrongful injury and negligence in the building fire that also injured at least 49 others, some of whom have already been discharged.

The fire, the worst building fire in Kuwait’s history, shocked the society and authorities who immediately launched campaigns to eradicate all types of violations in housing units in the country to ensure the tragedy is not repeated. Bodies of the 45 Indian victims were repatriated to their homeland just before the Eid Al-Adha break.

The Indian Embassy said the number of Indians being treated at hospitals has dropped to 25 from the initial 35.

About 176 of the 196 residents of the building were Indian nationals. There were also Filipinos, Thais, Pakistanis and Egyptians. Local media reported that HH the Amir Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has ordered a cash payment of $15,000 to the relatives of each victim and that the funds will be delivered to the concerned embassy.

There has been no official confirmation of the payment, but Interior and Defense Minister Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousef Al-Sabah had told reporters on Thursday that HH the Amir had ordered the cash payment without announcing the amount. In addition, victims are expected to receive compensation from the insurance company and their end-of-service compensation from their employers, a company offering security services to the local market.

Meanwhile, the interior ministry led inspection teams into buildings in Hawally on Thursday as part of a campaign to ensure that all violations in apartment buildings are removed to ensure that similar fire tragedies are not repeated in the future. Sheikh Fahad said there will be no tolerance towards violating landlords who only care to increase their profits at the expense of the rights of workers. He affirmed that the law will be applied to all without exception.

The minister ordered that all violations should be removed and the situation of buildings being illegally utilized will be settled as soon as possible. Sheikh Fahad also paid a visit to a shelter for violating workers and ordered that the process of deportation should be speeded up.

Director of Kuwait Municipality Saud Al-Dabbous announced the municipality law will be amended to improve performance, adding that under current law, municipality teams are not allowed to enter buildings without the prior approval of the landlord or the public prosecution. He said that Minister of State for Municipality Affairs Noura Al-Mashaan has ordered the suspension of a number of municipal officials and ordered the formation of an independent investigation committee to investigate the officials about their responsibility towards the fire.

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