Police impound funeral service van for smuggling

The impounded vehicle with smuggled goods in Nyamasheke District. Courtesy.

A funeral service vehicle was impounded on Thursday in Ruharambuga Sector of Nyamasheke District after it was found transporting 14 bales of smuggled secondhand clothes and shoes, commonly known as Caguwa.

Eight bales contained used shoes and six others clothes.

The District Police Commander for Nyamasheke, Senior Superintendent of Police Gerald Habiyambere, said that earlier that evening, he received a phone call from an informer in Kamembe about two people who had smuggled quantities of secondhand clothes and shoes into the country from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The caller was specific on the particulars of the suspected smugglers and the funeral vehicle which they had hired in an attempt to beat security,” Habiyambere said.

“We mounted a snap-check along Ntendezi- Gashyirabwoba road where a Mercedes Benz RAD 819J…was stopped at about 10pm, recovered eight bales of shoes and six bales of clothes.

The vehicle was impounded at Ruharambuga Police station while goods were handed over to the Revenue Protection Unit,” he added.

He said three suspects, including the driver, were detained at Ruharambuga Police station.

One of the suspects, admitted that this was the third time he has smuggled secondhand clothes into the country. His was successful in his first two attempts.

The DPC commended the role of the public in information sharing, which he said is important in identifying and arresting smugglers and drug traffickers.

By law, a vehicle used in smuggling as well as the smuggled goods are auctioned, while the driver is handed a penalty of $5,000.