Rwanda National Police (RNP) has commended growing community involvement in night patrols in Eastern Province, crediting it with what it calls effective response to the issue of cattle theft.
Emmanuel Kayigi, the Police spokesperson for Eastern Province, said cases of cattle theft are now rare and attributed it to community policing and active role of the people themselves, in particular, who have taken it upon themselves to work with the police to identify the thieves.
By mid-September, Police had arrested 87 people suspected of being behind a series of cattle rustling in the province, particularly in Gatsibo, Nyagatare and Kayonza districts.
The suspects were soon paraded before thousands of residents as Police completed their file and forwarded them to the prosecution.
“In the last one month, we have recorded four cases of cattle theft in Gatsibo and all the suspects were arrested and all the stolen cows recovered; we haven’t registered any case in Nyagatare,” said Kayigi.
Cases of cattle theft that were previously handled by mediators (Abunzi) – have since been referred to conventional courts.
“The public has the power to protect what rightfully belongs to them, to ensure that their households and communities are safe, and that’s what community policing is about. It’s the partnership between the police and the public for the wellbeing of all, and, that way, we will create a strong bond in fighting, prevention and responding where necessary through timely and credible information sharing,” he said.