Grassroots leaders in Nyagatare have committed to stepping up the fight against sale and consumption of illegal liquor, locally known as Kanyanga, in the district.
They made the resolve during the district’s annual general assembly at the weekend.
Sector, cell and village leaders vowed to continue fighting trafficking, sale and consumption of the illicit alcohol and other drugs.
Alphonse Kamari, a local leader in Karangazi Sector, said with sustained crackdown, alcohol abuse can be controlled.
“We are determined more than ever to check alcohol abuse. It has been affecting us in all ways. Few culprits living in our communities cannot be allowed to ruin our future. Different traps are designed to arrest offenders,” he said.
However, some of the grassroots leaders raised issues with the release of suspects before they are prosecuted, saying it undermined their efforts to fight crime.
“It is frustrating to see the people you reported walking freely on the streets two days after they were arrested. This discourages whistleblowers. It also sabotages our efforts to curb the crime,” said one village leaders.
Police reports indicate that the number of crimes attributed to the use of illegal alcohol was alarming, which called for immediate intervention right from the grassroots level.
The general assembly was attended by all local leaders in the district as well as representatives of security agencies.
“Most of the cases we register including theft, defilement and other crimes were attributed to illicit brew and drugs,” Benoit Nsengiyunva, the regional Police spokesman, said.
District mayor Fred Atuhe Sabiti called on local leaders to strengthen security, which he said was the backbone of development in communities.
“Security is the first priority in the communities; you can’t register any development if people engage more in excessive drinking of contraband and resort to committing crimes,” he said.
Eastern Province governor Odette Uwamariya commended grassroots efforts to fight drug use in communities.
She said the local leaders’ vigilance was necessary, adding that the district has many cases of illegal brew consumption because in neighboring countries the gin is distilled freely.
Police warned some local leaders accused of conniving with contraband dealers, saying their days were numbered.
“It is impressive to see local leaders determined to fight marijuana, kanyanga and other forms of drug abuse, but it is equally disturbing when the reverse is true. In some cases, local leaders connive with the dealers,” Nsengiyunva said.