Rwanda National Police (RNP) reminds the general public that collection and storing of scrap metals should be done diligently by mature people as it requires utmost attention, adding that using children amounts to child labour and exposes them to danger.
The force also appeals to parents and guardians to be watchful of their children not to engage in such activities.
The call follows an incident that happened on September 25 at around 11:30am in Nyanza District, Kigoma Sector, Butare Cell, where four children who were collecting scrap metals, unknowingly played with a rusty grenade that blew up killing one of the and injured the others.
“Three of the children involved in the incident are siblings and sons of one Faustin Kamanzi who was also injured. The four children went looking for scrap metals for sell, among the objects they had collected is a rusty grenade which they started playing with and eventually blasted killing Olivier Niyomugisha, 12, and injured Fulgence Niyigena, 10; Kevin Iradukunda, 8, and Igiraneza 4, who had followed them,” said the Southern Region Police Spokesperson, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) André Hakizimana.
“The injuries were minor for survivors,” he added.
“Unexploded ordinances are now rare but you can’t rule out the likelihood of one or two of such deadly explosives. There are cases where people running elands find grenades and report them for safe rescue. The problem is with the children because they can’t differentiate between safe craps and deadly ones,” he added.
Police has also urged those in the business to refrain from using children in scrap metal collection saying that such acts also amount to child labour which is punishable by law.
“Scrap collection is dangerous requires consciousness, you can’t let children engage in such,” he added.
He reminded that there is no criminal liability to any person who voluntarily reports a suspicious object that may be a grenade or a landmine, urging those who deal in scrap metals to always report any suspicious objects.
“When you find a suspicious object, walk away from it and immediately inform police or other security organs which have the skills to determine if it’s a dangerous object and to handle accordingly,” said CIP Hakizimana.