Residents neighbouring Gako military facility in Bugesera District have been asked to stay away from the area, to avoid accidents and disrupting training drills, and help preserve the environment.
The warning came after it was the realised that residents around the area encroach on it to graze their cattle, burn charcoal, and mostly, search for firewood as well as hunting some wild animals, such as antelopes.
The land, which is mainly forest, is home to different military installations.
Maj. Gen. Mubarak Muganga, RDF Division Commander for Eastern Province and City of Kigali, also warned citizens against using the area as route for trafficking assorted contraband to or from neighbouring Burundi.
He cited an incident recently when two soldiers were attacked and stabbed with machetes by residents and are still hospitalised.
He said the injured soldiers were trying to remove residents out of the training zone.
“Whatever reason that brings you in this wild zone it is unacceptable,” he told the residents.
Fidèle Murindangabo, a resident of Nyakayaga Cell, Kamabuye Sector, said many citizens in the area have made it a habit to go to the military zone, which he described ‘dangerous’.
“Now it is forbidden, I think nobody will trespass again,” he said.
Since one of reasons the people go to the military domain is searching for firewood, residents argued that they need to be facilitated to get alternative sources of cooking energy.
Bugesera District Mayor Richard Mutabazi said that the fact that residents are thinking of alternative sources of cooking energy was already encouraging.
“What we are going to do as a district is to find a partner in gas business, who will give us a package suitable at an affordable price,” he said, adding that gas is the most sustainable cooking energy.
The district already has a partner who distributes cooking gas to salaried workers.