Following an accident that happened on Monday, January 3, involving two boats on River Nyabarongo, local officials have temporarily suspended movement between Muhanga and Gakenke districts.
The two boats carrying travellers crossing from either bank of the river had at least one person who drowned while forty people were rescued. A concerted search for more persons was still going on as at press time.
The Vice Mayor in charge of economic development in Muhanga district,Eric Bizimana said on Tuesday, a team comprising officials from both districts, security, infrastructure ministry headed to the scene to find a solution for traders who cross the river every day.
“We are now waiting for a motorised boat provided by Rwanda Defence Force to help transport passengers and traders who are stranded. This is because since yesterday movements were temporarily suspended to avoid further risks. We have realised that boats made of wood are very risky on this side,” he said.
He explained that the two districts are carrying out a study on a sustainable way to ensure safe transport on the river.
“Temporary solutions such as suspended bridges can also work for some time to ease trade and movement between the districts but we are working with the Ministry Infrastructure and the transport agency to come up with a study that could tell us a kind of bridge that can provide a sustainable solution in addition to motorboats,” he said.
He explained that the bridge is needed to facilitate daily business activities carried out by residents who cross it.
“We have over 500 residents from Muhanga district who cross the river going for mining activities in Gakenke district besides thousands of others who go there to do other businesses,” Bizimana said.
Thousands of residents from Gakenke district cross the river to Muhanga for agricultural activities and other businesses.
The maritime transport using boats on this river was only being used following the destruction of a bridge by unknown persons last week.
Information from Rwanda Investigation Bureau indicates that at least 13 people have been arrested for allegedly destroying the bridge for their own benefit.
The suspects first said that the bridge was destroyed by disasters but later, following an investigation, it was found that it was destroyed by locals operating maritime transport, after realising that they were no longer getting clients for their boats.
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