Five suspected illegal miners, including two women, have been arrested in Rutsiro District following an operation conducted in Rusebeya Sector on Tuesday.
Police also recovered 1438kgs of cassiterite and 702kgs of Coltan from the suspects.
The District Police Commander of Rutsiro, Supt. Boniface Kagenza, identified the suspects as Emmanuel Sindibona, Margaritte Mukaleta, Cyprien Munyakirambi, Emerance Ntibiringirwa and Vedaste Munyentwari.
“This is part of the efforts by the Rwanda National Police and the District Police Unit of Rutsiro in particular to fight illegal mining and environmental degradation in general,” Supt. Kagenza said.
“We had information from members of the public that there are some people behind this illegal act of mining; they send others to go to mining concessions, especially at night and, in turn, buy these minerals from them,” he added.
“So, acting on this credible information, we conducted the operation during which we arrested five people suspected to be involved in unlawful business, but in due course, we also arrested another man, identified as Aloys Barayahanga, after we found him in possession of 2000 litres of locally-made illicit brew.”
All the suspects are currently detained at Gihango Police Station as investigations continue.
Rutsiro is one of the districts with many mining concessions, especially in the sectors of Rusebeya, Manihira and Murunda, where illegal mining is also considered to be high.
The DPC thanked the residents for their partnership in crime prevention and in fighting illegal mining, in particular.
“Mining has its procedures and laws that have to be followed; mining and selling minerals is done by licensed companies and people.”
Undertaking illegal research or commercial activities in valuable minerals attracts a jail term of up to one year and or a fine of between Rwf3 million and Rwf10 million.