Groom’s Ex Set Fire To Wedding Tent, Killing 43

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wedding-tent-bgKUWAIT 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.

The inferno Saturday night in the tribal area of al-Jahra, west of Kuwait City, ate up the women’s tent in just three minutes and left behind bodies so charred they were unrecognizable.

Guests likely crushed one another in a desperate attempt to flee.

It was 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.

But Kuwaiti newspapers speculated on the cause of the fire, saying that the groom’s former wife was to blame.

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.

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.

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