AT LEAST seven inmates were injured and assorted properties destroyed when fire gutted Gasabo prison on Friday morning, an official said.
According to Commissioner General of Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS) George Rwigamba, the fire started at around 8:30am and spread fast to three cells.
Heavy black smoke could be seen up in the sky up to around 10a.m.
Addressing the media, Rwigamba said they were yet to establish the exact cause of the fire, but investigations were ongoing.
“It was an unfortunate morning as the fire gutted this prison, we are trying to put out the fire with the rescue support from police and airport, we have no many causalities except seven injuries which are minor and will be treated inside the prison,” Rwigamba told journalist.
Fire fighting trucks and fire fighters were still busy trying to put out the fire.
“No death has been recorded and no inmate escaped, however their properties including mattresses, hygiene materials among others were all destroyed,” he added.
He said that security agencies, including Rwanda National Police and the Rwanda Defense Force rushed on site to put out the fire before it could spread further.
Inmates were evacuated to separate facilities. Police, soldiers and prison guards surrounded the prison to ensure no inmate could take advantage to escape.
Some residents living around the prison say they heard gunshots when the fire broke out.
It is not the first time prison facilities have caught fire.
Over the past three years, prisons like Muhanga, Rubavu and Nyarugenge were gutted by fire with the latter having been burned last year in December.
“It is a serious concern, we are doing our best to deal with this,” Rwigamba said without details.