Five injured in Rwamagana steel factory accident

A device that exploded on Sunday night is thought to be an RPG. Courtesy.

Five employees of Rwamagana based steel factory, SteelRwa, were yesterday injured following an accident that involved explosive scrap material.

The material detonated at around 1 a.m., inside the steel factory located in Munyiginya Sector. 

Three severely injured victims were transferred to Kigali Military Hospital and The University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK).

One of the victims is reported to have lost some of his limbs

Two others who sustained minor injuries were taken to Rwamagana Provincial Hospital. 

The material is believed to be from the scrap material that the company purchases from the country and region to transform into steel. 

Rwanda Investigation Bureau and Rwanda Defence Forces’ engineering brigade are looking into the cause of the explosion.

Rwamagana District Mayor, Radjab Mbonyumuvunyi, said the explosive material went off as the workers on night-shift were sorting scrap. 

“Since SteelRwa is a factory that operates 24 hours a day, people working in the night shift were offloading raw metal scrap from a truck,” he said, adding that workers normally cut them into pieces before processing them.

They tried to cut the material, which was hazardous and eventually injured them, he said.

The mayor’s account corroborates with Emmanuel Ndikubwimana’s, the Human Resources Officer at SteelRwa.

“We unload the steel loads from trucks, they are collected from all corners of the country, there are even those imported from other countries; it is possible that explosive material can be collected in those loads,” he said.

According to Ndikubwimana, the employees on duty saw the hazardous piece of material but were not able to identify what it was and opted to chop it using an electrically powered tool, causing the explosion.

In addition to having general insurance cover, Ndikubwimana explained that factory workers have insurance that caters for such eventualities.

Some workers at SteelRwa told The New Times that accidents stemming from hazardous scrap material are not rare at the factory, and sometimes result to loss of life