KUWAIT CITY -- Authorities have apprehended the person suspected of setting fire to a wedding tent and killing 43 people.
Local newspapers reported the groom's ex-wife was the arsonist.
likely crushed one another in a desperate attempt to flee.
still unclear if the bride had survived.
The alleged arsonist has been identified and "confessed to
committing the crime for personal reasons," Interior Ministry
spokesman Col. Mohammed al-Saber told state-owned Kuwait
Al-Saber's statement made no reference to an ex-wife, and he did
not answer telephone calls seeking comment Monday.
newspapers speculated on the cause of the fire, saying that the
groom's former wife was to blame.
The headline in the
English-language Kuwait Times was "'Scorned' Woman Unleashed
The independent Al-Qabas daily said the groom's former wife, who
is 23 years old, poured gasoline on the tent and lit it because she
felt her ex-husband mistreated her when they were married.
A statement Monday from the Interior Ministry carried by the
Kuwait News Agency said the perpetrator was in custody, but no name
or details were given.
The "final and exact" death toll discussed in a high-level
security meeting Monday was 41, said Kuwaiti Fire Department chief,
Brig. Gen. Jassem al-Mansouri. Earlier reports Monday had raised
the death toll to 43 after two people died overnight from burns.
But al-Mansouri said after further investigation authorities
determined that only 39 people died during the initial blaze. He
said the bodies were so badly burned, it was difficult for
investigators to determine how many people perished.
The chief, who described the fire as the worst disaster he's
seen in almost four decades of service, said 6 bodies were still
unidentified and it was not known if the bride survived the
Fifty-two others injured in the blaze remained in the hospital,
the health minister, Hilal al-Sayer, told the TV.
Al-Mansouri and the Interior Ministry declined to comment on the
reports accusing the ex-wife of having a role in the fire pending
an investigation. Authorities have promised to publicize the full
results of the probe.
Kuwaitis celebrate weddings in separate parties for men and
women, with children attending the women's event which features
singing and dancing and a dinner buffet.
In tribal regions, some hold these parties in tents, a custom
rooted in Kuwait's nomadic heritage. In wealthier urban areas, such
parties take place in five-star hotels or special halls.
Kuwait's emir, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, said that out of
sympathy for the victims he will not be receiving the customary
well wishers for the advent of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan,
which starts later this week.
Groom's Ex Set Fire To Wedding Tent, Killing 43
Reports allege groom's ex-wife lit fire in Kuwait wedding tent that killed 43 people
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