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Some imported bombs disguised as scrap, dealers warned
PHOTO:A boy weighs scrap material at the scrap dealers area in Kampala, Courtesy of New Vision

By Darious Magara

Jul,20-2012 05:31:17
The Counter-terrorism Unit of Police has warned scrap dealers against purchasing explosives and bombs among the scrap they purchase both locally and from the neighbouring countries. 

The Unit also warned the public against playing and collecting unique metals as scrap and asked that those suspected to be of military nature be isolated.

The public was asked to inform the police in case they detect and suspect that some metals are of military nature.

The deputy director of the security unit, Geoffrey Kyombe said the warning comes in the wake of some accidents in form of exposition of bombs and other explosives at some steel factories in the country. 

Some of the explosives and bombs have been imported by traders dealing in scrap. 

He said they recovered explosives of military ordinance at Tian-Tanga steel factory at Mbalala in Mukono district last month but explained that there was no exposition at the factory to prompt them to visit it.

No workers were injured then although after inspection of the suspected scrap, some explosives were recovered by both police and bomb experts.

‘Detected and destroyed ’

Kyombe explained that explosives detected and recovered by his unit from steel factories have been destroyed. Some were recently destroyed from Katakwi district and had been mainly recovered from Iganga district.

He also confirmed that there was an explosive at the Tembo steel factory of Iganga on 24 May this year   where one worker was killed following a blast as they heated some metal in the furnace.

A few others were injured in the explosion.

Kyombe said Ruth Nanyonjo, a causal worker at the factory died on spot when the blast occurred. Hakim Musenero, Jessica Byoona and James Tiruraga were left critically injured.

He however explained that bombs and other explosives are not necessarily imported.

Following the insurgency that existed as the Government fought the LRA rebels for 20 years in the Northern region of Uganda, the Government has been undertaking a demining exercise.

The exercise which is coordinated by the office of the Prime minister, he explains will take some time before bombs and other explosives of military nature are by large wiped out.    

A security source said they suspect that bombs, missiles, explosives, motors, grenades and bullets of different caliber and anti-aircrafts  are mistakenly packed together with scrap of which is imported from South Sudan, DR Congo, and Rwanda.

Measures taken

Andy Liang the plant manager at Tian-Tanga steel factory when contacted said they had engaged the Government bomb experts to forestall such accidents.

“We’re working closely with the Police to sensitize our workers to detect them to ensure safety in our factory” he added.

A manager at Tembo, Anand Kedia said they had also engaged services of specialized police to sensitize their workers on suspected dangerous metals.

Kedia denied that many of their workers had been severely injured from explosives at their Iganga factory.

Kyombe cited weaknesses like manual sorting of scrap rather than use of machines and gaps at border points in checking for dangerous metals as key in the mobility of explosives.



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