Monday, June 24, 2024

Scrap metal dealer loses leg in device explosion


Second Infantry Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Sepiso Mashanda, has warned the public not to play with military ordinances as they are deadly.

Brig Gen Mashanda stated this after information reached his office that a man of Kabwe had lost one of his legs after an unexploded Ordinance he purchased as scrap metal exploded at his home.

“These Ordinances are extremely dangerous and have the potential to cause total devastation.” If they can destroy an area within a 5-6 metres radius and turn a forest into ashes, they are not safe to be near.”

According to Gen Mashanda, this is not the first time his office has received such reports.

Central Province Permanent Secretary Milner Mwanakampwe and Provincial Police Chief Roy Kashimba have since urged the public to contact the military or police if they come across such devices, and have urged scrap metal dealers to distinguish between ordinary and not ordinary metal.

The source market for these devices remains unknown, but investigations are ongoing.


  1. Instead of targeting scrap metal dealers, Zambia Army must explain how these ordnances left their safe custody. Can the Director of Ordnance account for how many of them are estimated not to be in safe custody. This will help determine the extent of the problem and whether to confine the search to Kabwe alone. Scrap metal business must be closely monitored as there are a lot of criminal activities going on. Vital installations have been stripped for scrap, even people’s gates are uprooted in the night, water utilities haven’t been spared all because of scrap metal business. We can’t have a country where people do as they wish without consequence

    • Is it possible that ZP can arrest those officers selling arms for scrap metal?
      If you have over stock then send them to Ukraine.

    • Every army in the world has its artilllery training ranges, where it fires its shells. Some of these shells do not detonate, but remain live for many years. These dud shells are dangerous, and only qualified people should handle them. However, fools break into places illegally and steal stuff. This is what happened here. Someone stole a military shell, and it injured someone. The army needs to find out who sold this shell and have him prosecuted for trespass, stealing government property, possessing restricted government property, selling restricted government property and endangering the public. It should publicise this prosecution as widely as possible as a warning

    • @Nega Nega, it’s not one shell but several and that’s our concern. Somebody was found using them as fencing poles, while another lost his leg at a scrap yard. Zambia Army are responsible for this negligence. Around 1981 a hand grenade was picked and detonated by kids. Those of my age will remember how the matter was professionally handled. There weren’t blame games.

    • This is a well-thought-out commentary Ayatollah. We do not have an informal sector military in Zambia. It’s a special state-controlled outfit in the defence and security sector whose top dogs know what to do.

    • @Ayatollah: I hope there are thousands of these shells. It would mean that our army is practising artillery fire, which as you can see in the war between Russia and Ukraine, is the main part ; we also need to train our artillery corps on firing them. Zambia Army has a range for fire practise. By law, this range is restricted property. Whoever enters it should be prosecuted. These people went in a firing range to steal scrap metal from old artillery casings. They found an unexploded shell, tried to take it apart and it exploded. They are lucky that it was not a fragmentation shell because it would have killed everyone within 10 meters. I do not understand why some of you are always defending thieves.

    • True, The Zambia Army should explain, how did these dangerous weapons land in civilian hands. Our military has serious Issues then.

  2. Brigadier General ??? with that title this chap sounds like he just joined the infantry
    or was it an parting gift from the last regine ?
    Those ordinances come from them therefore there should be an investigations why they were left lying around

    • No. These shells come from the firing range. As you can imagine, over the years, the Zambia army has fired literally million of practise artillery shells into its firing range. Some characters have made a living recovering old artillery casings and selling them as scrap metal. This fellow evidently thought he has hit the jackpot when he found an intact shell. This happens because even among the best American produced shells, about 6% do not explode when they are fired. These are called “dud” shells, and the older the stock of shells, the higher the dud rate. The dud shell exploded when this fellow tried to tamper with it.. This is why such ranges are restricted government property. The Zambia Army did nothing wrong

  3. Time to regulate scrap dealing seriously. Police should inspect these premises. I personally have lost a lot of things some of which I have traced to some scrap yard. Police will ask for evidence to confirm that it’s your property such as a purchase receipt…. something that I bought twenty years ago. It’s a pity that even things to do with the army are now part of their target

    • The culture of stealing is something that comes MMD and its offshoot PF. Already, you useless ass is defending the thief who probably trespassed onto a government artillery range to steel dud artitllery shell. Hopefully, the fellow is prosecuted for his crime.

  4. The culture of stealing is something that comes from MMD and its offshoot PF. Already, your useless ass is defending the thief who probably trespassed onto a government artillery range to steal dud artillery shell. Perhaps you should tell him that stealing is not ok, although he might be tempted and entitled to ask you why do it then


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