News of Rwanda (Kigali)

Rwanda: Public Warned to Be Careful With Explosives Among Scrap Metals

The scrap metal business in the region has increased since 1995 and it has attracted investors both locally and internationally.

With the coming of steel industries in Rwanda like STEELRWA, the scrap business has somehow boomed, and has become an income generating activity to some people who have engaged in collecting the raw materials.

Scraps are recyclable materials left over from product consumption, such as parts of vehicles, building supplies and surplus materials, which have significant monetary value.

Most of the people involved in collecting these recyclable metals are the youth and women.

Following the liberation struggle of between 1990 and 1994 and the period of insurgencies in some parts of the country in 1997, left many Unexploded Ordnance (UXOs) such as bombs, bullets, shells, grenades and land mines, which are scattered in bushes while others are buried, and still pose a risk of detonation.

These UXOs have also been mistakenly collected as valuable metals.

Some people, including those collecting scraps, have fallen victims of these dangerous weapons. Some people, especially the youth involved in collecting these recyclable metals, are blinded by the love for money which is determined by the quantity of metals collected, and forget to examine the type of tools collected.

This has left some people incapacitated while others have lost their lives. Children also play with such weapons unknowingly, which explode and injure or worse still kill them.

According to police on November 3 a 7-year old Janvier Nkurunziza was killed by a grenade explosion in Nyamagana Cell in Ruhango Sector, Ruhango District. Nkurunziza was at the time playing with the grenade unknowingly.

A 12-year old Maldoche Dusingizimana also died in similar circumstances also in Ruhango District.

The grenade had been picked by her elder brother, Athanase Kubwimana, who thought it was a valuable metal, and brought it home.

Police calls upon those with the knowledge of the whereabouts of such weapons. "It is imperative to surrender or report them to save lives, especially those of the children."

Article 671 of the penal code stipulates that 'any person who illegally possesses, lends or gives an arm, or falsifies its identification marks, is liable to a term of imprisonment of six months to one year and a fine of Rwf300, 000 to Rwf3 million or one of these penalties.

However, under article 673, "any person who illegally carries, fires or uses an arm in a residential area or its neighborhood, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of six months to two years and a fine of Rwf300, 000 to Rwf3 million or one of these penalties.

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