Rwanda contacts DRC over smuggled minerals

The government of Rwanda has contacted their counterparts in the Democratic Republic of Congo over the tonnes of smuggled minerals from the neighbouring country. The minerals which, according to the State Minister in charge of Mining, Evode Imena, constituted 8.4 metric tonnes of wolfram, tin and coltan, were seized in June as they were being smuggled into the country from DRC.

The government of Rwanda has contacted their counterparts in the Democratic Republic of Congo over the tonnes of smuggled minerals from the neighbouring country. The minerals which, according to the State Minister in charge of Mining, Evode Imena, constituted 8.4 metric tonnes of wolfram, tin and coltan, were seized in June as they were being smuggled into the country from DRC.

“We have communicated to the government of DRC. Rwanda Revenue Authority delivered a letter to the customs of DRC and we are waiting for their response,” Imena, said in an interview last week, adding that the response will determine when the minerals will be handed back.

Unkonwn value

The interception of the minerals was first announced last month by Louise Mushikiwabo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, during her address to the UN Security Council in a debate on the security situation in the Great Lakes Region.

The value of the minerals is not known.

“Once they (Congolese) are ready, we shall inform you of when we shall hand over the minerals,” Imena added.

According to the state minister, the minerals constitute the three so-called “conflict minerals” of tin, wolfram and coltan and are currently stored at the Revenue Protection Department in Rusizi District.

The Deputy Commissioner General of RRA, Richard Tusabe, said that the smuggled minerals were seized by a Rwandan surveillance team along the DRC border, although the smugglers were not captured.

“They abandoned the minerals and ran away. We do not have any details on who they are,” Tusabe said, adding that: “We will sustain surveillance to stop smugglers.”

In November 2011, Rwanda handed 82 tonnes of smuggled tin, coltan and wolfram back to DRC .

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