KARONGI- Hardly a week after implicating a well known businessman for participating in illegal trading of precious minerals in Karongi district, three people have been arrested for the same activities.
The three held are a local citizen Abdan Niyindebera and two Congolese refugees from Kiziba refugee camp identified as Janvier Mahanga and Hangi Kongoman.
The arrests come barely two weeks after a US investor who acquired the concession called off any mining activities at the site due to widespread mineral smuggling and poor safety of the miners.
According to local authorities, seven other illegal miners have escaped arrest in the last one week following deployment of local security guards at the Bisesero concession, located in Rwankuba sector, Karongi sector.
The mining centre is the major source of cassiterite, wolfram and coltan and officials have estimated the concession to yield between 10 and 20 tonnes per month.
According to Bill Quam, the country Manager of Bay View Group, the American company which acquired the concession in 2007, at least 6 tonnes of minerals are lost to illegal dealers monthly.
“Due to illegal mining, we temporarily called off activities until further notice. We are still working closely with our own security to identify more illegal dealers,” Quam said.
He appealed to local authorities to cooperate with his company in order to save the country over Rwf500m that has been estimated to have been lost in the last three years due to smuggling of minerals.