NAIROBI, The government is now suspecting foul play in the Gikomba fire that reduced property worth millions of shillings to ashes.

Small traders in the biggest open-air retail market in the country are counting loses after the fire gutted half of their stalls Thursday night.

The cause of the fire still remains a mystery even as the government promised a thorough investigation.

From the initial reports that we are getting, we are saddened that they appear to point to foul play. The government has set in motion investigations into the cause of this fire to fully establish what caused it. Let it be known that stern action will be taken on the culprits should the investigations establish foul play said Devolution CS Mwangi Kiunjuri in a statement.

Top national and county government officials visited the scene assuring the traders of their support.

They said investigations have been launched and the culprits if any will not escape the long arm of the law.

The county government is now promising to set up a modern market in the area.

The national government, in collaboration with the City County Government will explore ways of ensuring that business in this very important market for a such big section of the City’s population are protected against such disasters in so far as possible, including by reconstructing the market to make the structures permanent said the CS.

Earlier, Kamukunji Deputy County Commissioner Moses Lilan who confirmed the incident on phone, told KBC that the fire is believed to have started at around 4am at the area where second hand clothes traders popularly known as mitumba operate.

Lilan said the cause of the fire is unknown but police have launched investigations to establish whether it could have been caused by an electrical fault, considering that most traders in the busy market provide laundry services.

This is not the first time that property has been destroyed by fire.

Last month, property of unknown value was destroyed after a fire razed stalls.

Now, victims and some leaders read mischief in the incidents and calling for a lasting solution to the menace.