NYANZA – Police in Nyanza District arrested eight people in Busasamana Sector over suspected manufacture and sale of illegal local brew, known as ‘Igikwangari’.
It is produced using several ingredients, including water, sugar, sorghum and yeast. The brew is fermented over a period of 24-hours to be ready for consumption. Some local residents and leaders also claimed that brewers use other crude materials such as pieces of bricks as part of ingredients.
During the same operation, about 20 litres of another common local gin, known as Kanyanga were also seized.
A source at Nyanza Police Station told The New Times that the operation was part of efforts to curb the manufacture and sale of the banned brews.
The brewing and sale of such gin is the major cause of crimes committed in the district including domestic violence, rape, child abuse, physical aggression and murder, police said.
“It is also a health hazard because some people have contracted diseases after consuming such drinks,” added a police source.
The district mayor, Abdallah Murenzi, blamed the brewers for promoting consumption of illegal substance in the area.
“Because they put many lives in danger, we have decided to stop them in order to safeguard our population. We will arrest anyone who produces any illegal brew,” Murenzi warned.
He appealed to brewers to form cooperatives, and to seek clearance from the Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RDS), the national regulator, before carrying on with their business.
Christophe Ahorushakiye, one of those arrested, admitted to producing the ‘Igikwangari’, vowing not repeat it once released.
“I knew it was against the law, but I had no choice because it was the only source of my family’s livelihood. I ask for forgiveness and won’t do it anymore,” Ahorushakiye told this newspaper.
The operation also saw about 20 people without identity cards rounded up.