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20 feared dead in Kenya building collapse

world Updated: Oct 20, 2009 17:33 IST

Up to 20 people were feared dead in Kenya on Tuesday after a five-storey building under construction collapsed, trapping workers under piles of rubble.

Local media said six bodies had been recovered so far and that 14 people remained missing after the incident on Monday in Kiambu town, 20 km (12 miles) northeast of the capital Nairobi.

"There was a loud bang when the building cracked, before collapsing," the Kenya Red Cross said in a statement, quoting a security guard at the site. "There are reports that those trapped ... have made phone calls to colleagues and relatives."

It also quoted a foreman as saying there had been at least 50 people in the building at the time.

Kenya's government has often promised to crackdown on building code violations, which are widespread in a country where bribery of officials and shoddy construction are rampant.

Fourteen people died and more than 100 were wounded in Jan. 2006 when a six-storey building in downtown Nairobi collapsed.