Police in Huye District are holding three men in connection with vandalising and stealing underground electric cables connecting Huye mineral water plant in Ngoma Sector.
Two of the suspects, identified as Felicien Nzamurambaho and Vedaste Sibomana, in the night of April 1, allegedly vandalised the cables connecting the water plant to the national grid, leading to power outage at the plant.
The suspects were identified and apprehended by locals on night patrol at about 5am on April 2 as they crossed to the neighbouring Kibirizi Sector in Gisagara District, police said.
The third suspect, identified as Salomon Ndikuryayo, was arrested later following investigations that linked him to the theft.
Ndikuryayo is also said to be one of the people who have been conniving with thieves to buy and sell stolen electric items in Huye and Gisagara districts.
It is said that as local patrol men were winding up their night patrol in Kibirizi, they met both Nzamurambaho and Sibomana carrying electric cables and they apprehended them before calling Police to take up the case.
The suspects were found with 27 metres of the stolen cables, at the time of their arrest.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Theos Badege, the commissioner for Criminal Investigation Department (CID), warned against vandalising public infrastructure.
He commended the role of night patrols and community policing committees in the fight and prevention of crimes.
“There are two groups involved in such crimes; those who vandalise and steal electric cables and fibre optics or other electric items and those who buy and sell such stolen items. Operations are underway to apprehend such people,” ACP Badege said.
Such acts, he said, are punishable under article 406 of the penal code on “demolishing or damaging another person’s buildings.”
“This infrastructure is meant to facilitate doing business and improve the people’s well being, so it should be guarded jealously by everyone,” he said.
ACP Badege warned of severe consequences to whoever will be caught in such acts, which, he said, affect the country’s development programmes and at times lead to loss of lives as some people are electrocuted while stealing the electric cables.
Jean Pierre Maniraguha, the manager of Energy Utility Corporation Limited (EUCL), Huye branch, said such illegal activities have cost the government about Rwf139 million in the last one year alone.
“This is a loss to everyone, right from the country to the last consumer because the money that should been spent on other public infrastructures will be channeled to rehabilitate those that have been destroyed,” said Maniraguha.