KIGALI - Police are investigating a suspected human trafficking case involving a local businessman, The New Times has learnt.
A car dealer, identified as Saidi Twizeyimana alias Mwanamayi, who is believed to be on the run, is suspected to be behind an alleged human trafficking case involving underage girls used for sexual exploitation.
A police source told this newspaper last week that detectives had already recorded statements with the students allegedly involved.
Sources close to the investigations said that the investigators visited a residential house in the high end Kiyovu area in Nyarugenge District last week where they found five girls of Burundian nationality.
The source, who requested not to be named, described the house as very “private”. On interrogation, the students allegedly admitted that they had been “fooled” by a businessman and traveled to Kigali recently.
Twizeyimana is suspected to be using money to lure underage girls into prostitution.
A city lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told this newspaper that Twizeyimana could face criminal charges under Article 272 of the Penal Code that punishes people who encourage prostitution.
Police sources say a lawyer from Kigali was also interrogated in connection with the alleged scandal.
By press time, names of the lawyer were not readily available. It’s understood that the lawyer used to go out with some young of the girls.
On the day police went to Twizeyimana’s house, the lawyer had taken one of the girls to Jambo Beach at Muhazi in Eastern Province, according to our sources.
The house in which the girls resided was being guarded and it was said that no one accessed the premises without permission from Twizeyimana.
The scandal came to light in the wake of reports from parents in Burundi who complained to their Police that their daughters had gone missing for months.
Working on a tip off from one girl, a parent traveled to Kigali one day, and informed Police authorities that a businessman had stolen their daughters.
Police in Kigali called their counterparts in Burundi, who in turn corroborated the woman’s story. This prompted an immediate search by police and later found the girls but the businessman escaped.
After being grilled, the girls said they used to tell lies to school authorities that they were going home but instead would travel to Twizeyimana’s home.
Investigations also target whether there were some intermediaries who were recruiting the girls, forcing them into domestic servitude, sexual exploitation or begging.
When contacted, Police Spokesperson, Supt. Eric Kayiranga confirmed the development but said he needed time to get all the details.
In 2008, a Kigali resident, Mustafa Munyawera, was accused by several parents of luring their young girls from various secondary schools into prostitution. He was arraigned before the Gasabo District court, which subsequently sentenced the 44-year old to 30 years in jail.
Munyawera’s accomplice, a 17-year-old girl, was also handed a suspended five-year term because by the time she committed the crime she was still a minor. She was working as his go-between.