Six people were arrested on Tuesday in Kayonza District in connection with killing three animals in Akagera National Park.
They allegedly killed a buffalo and two antelopes.
Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Theobard Kanamugire, the Police spokesperson for the Eastern region, said that the suspected poachers were arrested in a joint operation conducted in Rwabarema Village of Cyarubare Cell in Kabare Sector.
“Police received information from park rangers on October 21, about a group of poachers that had entered into the park, but they were not able to locate them,” CIP Kanamugire said.
He added: “During the process of the operation conducted jointly with park rangers and other security organs, we received information in the morning of October 23 from members of the public that the group had already sneaked out of the park and was on its way to their destination.”
We trailed and intercepted three of the poachers, he said, who were traveling on motorcycles with two sacks of game meat.
“We also followed the lead back to a home of one of accomplices in Rwabarema Village, where they were sheltered, recovered other sacks of meat and arrested three other members of this criminal ring.”
The security personnel, he said, also went back into the park at the scene where the wild animals were slaughters and smoked, recovered the head of the buffalo that was killed, weapons used and about 20 nets the poachers were using to trap the animals.
“This is a ring of poachers; two of them are from Ngoma District while four others are from Kayonza. They have a way of faulting the electric fence to break into the park and reconnect it after crossing,” Kanamugire said.
He thanked members of the public that facilitated the arrest and called for continued information sharing on suspected poachers and to protect the conserved animals.
The law on environment states that any person who hunts, sells, injures or kills a protected animal species and products thereof, commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than five years and not more than seven years and a fine of between Rwf5 million and Rwf7 million.