On the tantalite trail with the knicker bomber

The Liverpool Echo uses CCTV camera footage to trace the 4350 mile journey of “disgruntled Rwandan businessman” Claude Rubagire as he travelled from Burundi to a factory in Liverpool in March, 2009. The businessman came armed with possibly the world’s most ingenious improvised (non) explosive device – the panty bomb.

For a year Rubagire had tried, and failed, to recoup $600,000 for a shipment of the rare mineral tantalite to “metal analysis firm Alfred H Knight International” based in the St. Helens district of Liverpool in the UK. It appears “Oxford educated” Rubagire, quite rightly, became miffed when the tantalite, assessed as 45% pure and valued at $600,000 by Alfred H Knight in Africa, turned out to be “0.1% pure and worthless” when it later arrived in Singapore.

Frustrated, Rugabire took the only logical step left open to him. He made a “bomb” out of knickers, socks and transistor radios, flew to Europe, held siege to Alfred H Knight International and threatened “carnage” for almost six hours,

Jailing Rubagire, Judge Bryn Holloway said: “You created a realistic explosive device meant to frighten anyone who saw it…

Realistic? Where does this judge buy his undies?

as a result of that looking for publicity for your cause… But at the end of the day this was a very serious offence… [he] added there “is a huge background to the case” and “there is no doubt that along” the line he was the victim of a “serious fraud”, though he did not point the finger of blame at any party. link

The Liverpool Echo reports that Rugabire was sentenced to four-and-a-half years for intent to explode his knickers “placing an article with intent”.

Photo taken from the Liverpool Echo.

One Response to “On the tantalite trail with the knicker bomber”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I wonder why the company quoted him wrong? Why was he monitored from Airport?