In preparation for New Year’s eve celebrations last night, the police had stepped up security measures embarking on several operations to fight crime better.
Supt. Robert Niyonshuti, the commander of traffic police told The New Times that road blocks to track down drunk drivers will be mounted to reduce the number of traffic offences that were registered on Christmas day.
“We have subsequently increased the number of policemen to avoid a repeat of what happened on Christmas day,” Niyonshuti said adding that their presence would serve different purposes.
He added: “The vigilance and visibility of the officers will caution the people to avoid drinking if they have to drive and it will also help us arrest the culprits.”
At least 50 vehicles were impounded on Christmas following the deployment of traffic officers along all major highways to prevent accidents during the festive season.
Niyonshuti also revealed that public places like churches and different venues where people were expected to gather on the New Year’s Eve would be heavily guarded as a security precaution.
“Clubs and other venues like the expo grounds in Gikondo (where the biggest New Year celebrations were expected to take place last night) have been allocated many officers even after the events so that we don’t take chances to threaten people’s security ahead of the year,” he said.
Niyonshuti urged all Rwandans to be cautious and to cooperate with the police to clamp down bad behaviour not only on the roads but also in all events to mark the New Year.
“We thank and request all stakeholders to keep up the efforts in order to have a peaceful beginning of 2009,” said the traffic boss.
Police spokesperson Willy Marcel Higiro confirmed that the force is ready to counteract any security threats that may arise.
“What I can assure all people is that the police are able and willing to protect the public because it is our duty,” Higiro said by telephone yesterday evening.