The New Times (Kigali)

24 December 2012

Rwanda: Electric Cable Theft On the Rise in Ngoma District

Ngoma — Energy Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) authorities have decried theft of electric cables that is on the increase in most sectors of Ngoma district.

Electric cable wires have been targets of thieves causing financial losses to EWSA.

This was disclosed by Genevieve Mugeni, the manager of Ngoma EWSA station, while reacting to a case of suspects who were arrested yesterday over accusation of stealing the cables.

The suspects (names withheld), were allegedly caught red-handed uprooting a 71 meter electric cable in Ivundika, Cyasemakamba and Musanvu villages.

Mugeni said the theft was on the rise, adding that the thieves undermined EWSA's efforts to push electricity to the remotest parts of the country.

She urged the public to assist the utility to identify suspects, noting that Karembo residents had a big role in arresting the culprits.

"We have lost a lot of money...this is quite unacceptable. In Izaza, a cable of 300 metres was stolen, the same thing happened in Karembo. Power is constantly cut off due to theft of cables...we need everybody's collaboration."

A couple of months ago, Police spokesman Superintendent Theos Badege explained that the suspects were masquerading as EWSA officials.

"Protecting public infrastructure is part of our obligations. All those involved should know that their days (of theft) are numbered," he said.

Juliette Mukanyirigira, a resident of Kibungo town, claimed that some rogue EWSA officials connive with thieves, but the EWSA official said they were not aware of such claims.

She said the thieves occasionally interrupted the supply of power in town, affecting business.

"EWSA must clean its house first...we know some individuals collaborating with the thieves. This makes it a little bit complex. Sometimes business is paralysed just because a cable is stolen somewhere. We need strict measures," she said.

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