On August 10, thousands of residents in Gicumbi District converged in Rwankojo Cell of Cyumba Sector to witness the public destruction of illicit gin valued at Rwf17.5 million.
The destroyed drugs included 3060 litres of crude gin commonly known as Kanyanga, 651 cartons of Chief and Kitoko Waragi and 19680 sachets of Blue Sky.
On Thursday, residents of Kabuga Cell in Manyagiro Sector also intercepted two men identified as Gilbert Niyonizeye and Emmanuel Nsengimana trafficking about 200 litres of Kanyanga and handed them over to Police.
The gin, which was banned in Rwanda, due to their content and packaging, is the common crime in Gicumbi.
They are classified under article 24 of the law governing narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors in Rwanda, which states that “any drink that exceeds forty five percent of alcohol and any other drink which doesn’t have the required quality for consumption shall be considered as narcotic drug.”
Burera and Gicumbi are the districts in the Northern region where drug abuse is also considered to be still high.
According to Supt. Steven Gaga, the District Police Commander of Gicumbi, they have increased operations, awareness and investigations on dealers and main routes, which he attributed to the success in the fight against trafficking and use of illicit gin and other drugs.
“These illicit gins we destroyed were seized in varied operations in the last two months and in most of each of the case, suspects were arrested,” Supt. Gaga said.
“About 90 percent of these successful operations were based on information from informers or members of the public through community policing and through this strong spirit of partnership, we believe that traffickers will find it hard to use Gicumbi as either a destination or transit route,” he added.
“We have identified and marked major routes in the sectors of Rubaya, Cyumba and Kaniga where all the destroyed illicit gin were intercepted; these are sectors that borders with Uganda and it makes them vulnerable to drug dealers.”
“We are working with district authorities to make community policing committees and Irondo – community night patrols – more effective; we also have good working relations with our counterparts in Kabale – Uganda – where we exchange information on any crime,” the DPC noted.
The DPC disclosed that they are currently creating anti-Kanyanga clubs in Villages and cells and means to strengthen awareness and response programmes to the vice.
“We need every level and everyone to be active in this fight; the residents have played a vital role in this case but there are still some gaps that traffickers utilize, which should be closed and this requires everyone to play his role. Effective policing is no longer a one man’s duty – Police – it is the responsibility of everyone.”