Joke that led to 3-hour shut down of JKIA lands man in jail

No laughing matter

Kenya Airways plane. Ethiopian Chifraye Bekele jailed for 4 months after joking about bomb on Kenya Airways plane

An Ethiopian man has been jailed for four months in Kenya after he was found culpable for causing panic at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

In April this year, Chifraye Bekele joked about a bomb aboard a Kenya Airways plane that was about to take-off for Johannesburg, South Africa.

Bekele allegedly asked a flight attendant who was closing an overheard locker whether she was afraid of a bomb.

"Why are you scared? You think it’s a bomb?" he asked. The question rattled the attendant who reported the matter to her colleagues and the captain in charge of the flight.

JKIA shut down for 3-hours for bomb sweep

Not willing to take a blind chance, the pilot ordered a search on the plane and all the passengers were disembarked and the flight was cancelled. JKIA was also put on lock down for three hours.

According to a copy of the judgement seen by BBC, Magistrate Christine Njagi on Thursday ruled that Bekele was guilty of "imperiling the safety of aircraft and persons on board".

In his defense, Bekele claimed that he cannot speak English and that he only communicated with the attendant in Amharic further denying that he could not have made the threat.

The Magistrate gave Bekele an option of settling the matter with a Sh100,000 fine but he was not able to raise the amount.

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