A third person has died after failing to overcome serious injuries sustained during last week’s wild fires that gutted part of Akagera National Park in the Eastern Province.Theogene Dushime passed away this week at King Faisal Hospital (KFH) where two other rangers died last week.
Those who died earlier are Emmanuel Habuhazi and Emmanuel Charité.The fourth victim, Jean Bosco Karemera, is still on treatment but doctors said on Wednesday he was still in a critical condition.
Karemera was the first to escape the raging fires, which are suspected to have been set off by poachers.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that all the rangers in the low-land savannah park have no life insurance despite the highly risky conditions they work in.
“There is a proposal to insure them as well as tourists,” Fidel Ruzigandekwe,” the Director for Wild Life at the Rwandan Tourism and National Parks Office (ORTPN), said.
He said a study to obtain life insurance for the rangers was ongoing. As for tourists, Ruzigandekwe said there were two proposals: either to have tourists insuring themselves or ORTPN to cover their life insurance.
Families of the deceased, he said, will be compensated through the Social Security Fund of Rwanda (SSFR).
Annet Pamara, ORTPN’s Public Relations officer said it was not yet clear whether the poachers were Tanzanians or Rwandans though she said the affected area is close to Tanzania. She said normally soldiers are called in whenever fires break out in the park, but that this time round it was too late when the soldiers arrived.
She said about 400 soldiers helped put off the fire. “However it was a bit too late,” she said, adding that about 140 hectares were destroyed.
Officials said this was the third time fires broke out in the park in the recent times. However, there were no lives lost in previous incidents.
The four rangers were trapped in the fire while trying to contain it on August 21 at Magash, north-east of the part. “It was difficult for them to escape unhurt,” the park’s chief warden, Robert Komire said.Ends