The Minister for Local Government, Francis Kaboneka, has appealed to the residents of Nyagatare District to reinforce community policing initiatives to respond to existing security challenges, including cattle rustling which is still common in the area.
The minister was speaking on Thursday at a security meeting held in Musenyi trading centre in Karangazi Sector.
The meeting was also attended by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Emmanuel K. Gasana, the Governor Eastern province and the Chief of Staff, Reserve Forces, Lt. Gen. Fred Ibingira.
It focused mainly on the issue of cattle theft which is said to be still common especially in the districts of Nyagatare and neighbouring Gatsibo.
Minister Kaboneka, while addressing residents, noted that the first line of fighting security issues and theft of cows in particular, rests in their hands as major players in community policing.
“This theft of cows undermines the President’s development programme of Gir’inka – one cow per household – which is unacceptable and can’t be tolerated at all. Partnership is an inevitable tool in fighting and preventing crimes,” Minister Kaboneka said.
He urged residents to embark on development programmes to realise the socio-economic well being.
IGP Gasana said that Rwanda National Police (RNP) has reinforced efforts in partnership with the district authorities and other security organs to address the issue of cattle theft.
At least about 100 cows have been stolen in Nyagatare since November last year of which 32 have been recovered and 44 suspects arrested.
“Partnership and timely reporting on any kind of crime is key to respond immediately to recover stolen livestock or any stolen item and arrest culprits,” IGP Gasana said, adding that successful operations were backed by members of the public, who provided credible information.
Lt. Gen. Ibingira echoed the same message, adding that Rwandans have been empowered to be watchdogs of their own safety and security.
“The thieves could be your neighbour, son or other people from somewhere else and are known by you. As empowered Rwandans, you should report these people,” he said.
While referring to the most recent case, where five cows meant for beneficiaries of Gir’inka programme were stolen in the farm, but all recovered in Bugesera, Lt. Gen Ibingira warned of severe consequences to anyone who will be caught engaging in theft.