The Northern Province has rolled out a campaign to step up fight against drug trafficking and consumption.
All the five District Police Units (DPUs) of Musanze, Burera, Gicumbi, Rulindo and Gakenke, yesterday went down in communities to further woo residents into community policing activities to combat the vice which is still rated high in the region.
According to Inspector of Police (IP) Innocent Gasasira, the police spokesperson for the Northern region, the campaign, which will include promoting road safety, targets majority transporters.
This, he said, is because transporters have been cited among major players in drug trafficking.
“We are seeing an increase in vehicles involved in trafficking of illicit drugs especially banned gin, which is the most common crime in the region,” said IP Gasasira.
“In the recent weeks alone, five vehicles have been intercepted trafficking illicit gin; three were intercepted in Gicumbi while two others were impounded in Rulindo. This is another trend traffickers are using after Police discovered and blocked other methods,”
Culprits including accomplices were arrested in all occasions.
Late last month, two vehicles were intercepted in Byumba Sector of Gicumbi trafficking 431 dozens of Chief waragi and 18 boxes of African gin.
Besides the gin being classified as illicit and a narcotic drug, Rwanda banned all alcoholic drinks packed in sachets as part of the general ban on plastic bags.
According to Gasasira, Burera and Gicumbi districts are major transit routes for traffickers of illicit gin due to their proximity to Uganda.
Early this month, about 3060 litres of crude gin commonly known as Kanyanga, 651 cartons of Chief and Kitoko waragi and 19680 sachets of Blue sky seized in Gicumbi in the last two months, were destroyed.
Rubaya, Cyumba and Kaniga are said to be the identified routes in Gicumbi and police in the district maintains that there is a massive response through operations, community awareness and strong partnership and information exchange with the residents.
“This campaign will specifically engage drivers and transport associations and motorcycle cooperatives in general to forge strong partnership in information exchange and vigilance against drug dealers especially those who want to use their means or attempt to hire them to transport illegal luggage.”
Meanwhile, the campaign will also engage transporters on road safety emphasising the need to respect traffic rules, including limiting speed, not using a mobile phone while driving and respecting the mechanical inspection policy, among others.