3 Killed in Kampala Fuel Tank Explosion


Customers with accounts in Barclays across its 24 branches in Kampala, order and the entire country and the continent might have by next week to explore other options as the British financial institution is expected to close business on the continent.

Barclays’ new chief executive is reportedly set to announce on Tuesday that the bank has decided to exit its African operations in a bold move to refocus the bank on its core UK and US markets.

After a review of the African business led by Jes Staley, for sale the bank’s board decided last week that in principle it made strategic sense to get out of the continent, according to people familiar with the matter.

The board has delegated authority to a subcommittee to examine the practicalities of how and when to sell Barclays Africa, one of its four main lines of business. By delegating authority it avoided having to disclose the decision immediately.

Mr Staley says he recognises Africa is one of Barclays’ few genuine growth areas, but he believes it is becoming a costly distraction as the South African rand devalues and the country’s economy slows down.

The bank also sees extra risks of corruption and misconduct in Africa. “Barclays does not own all of the equity, but it owns 100 per cent of the risk if something goes wrong,” said one of the people.

The decision to pull out of Africa will reinforce Mr Staley’s strategy of refocusing Barclays on its core British and American markets.

Last month, he announced plans to further trim the investment bank cutting up to 1,200 staff by closing smaller operations in Asia, Brazil, Europe and Russia.

Barclays has had operations in parts of Africa for almost a century. Barclays Africa Group Limited, which includes the South African branch network Absa, is one of the largest banks on the continent, with a R991bn balance sheet. It has 45,000 employees — a third of all Barclays staff — and 1,267 branches across 12 countries, including Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Uganda.

But the recent contribution of the African business to the overall group’s profits has been hit by the devaluation of the South African rand against the British pound. The African unit’s return on equity was 9.3 per cent last year — below the bank’s target of 11 per cent.


Police have spoken out on circumstances under which a long fuel tank exploded in Kampala on Friday, generic killing three people instantly.

The law enforcement body said the tank blew up at 2:26pm at Eddie’s garage in Kisenyi, clinic along Musajjalumbwa road, check Kampala.

The deceased three welders were patch-welding weak points atop a Mercedes Benz-ACTROSS fuel tank under Reg. No. CGO-4478-AA-99/4476-AA-19.

The tank that was being repaired previously contained fuel, which had been removed but not gas-freed.

The Police technical team of experts from the Directorate of Counter Terrorism responded to the scene that had been secured by the area Police from the Old Kampala Police Division.

According to police spokesperson Fred Enanga, Preliminary investigations reveal the probable cause of the fuel tank explosion, as the sudden release of highly accumulated pressure, built inside the closed fuel tanker, which ruptured the weak points atop the fuel tanker, causing a mechanical explosion along the line of weakness.

“The lead covers were scattered to a distance of 100 metres away, and pieces of regular, but, not well definedmetallic pieces, were recovered for further forensic analysis,” he said in a statement.

He identified the dead as Semwanje Siraje, a welder, Sserwanga Godfrey, a co-welder, and Ivan Yanga, who died on the way to hospital.

The bodies were transferred to the city mortuary, at Mulago National Referral Hospital for further post-mortem analysis.

To avoid the recurrence of such unfortunate incidents at motor vehicle repair premises, Enanga urged all proprietors to always conduct careful assessment of the risks involving mechanical processes that generate flames, sparks or heat (hot work) including welding, cutting grinding and sawing.

“In the alternative, they should consider using cold cutting or cold repair techniques, to help guard against mechanical processes that are life threatening,” he added.


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