KARONGI: Police arrest 11 illegal miners

Eleven people were arrested on Saturday, May 14, at about 10am, in Rwanda National Police (RNP) operations against illegal mining activities conducted in Karambo Village, Gitega Cell, Rugabano Sector, Karongi District.

The suspects were arrested red-handed mining Wolfram using traditional tools in Rukopfu stream.

The Western region Police spokesperson, Superintendent of Police (SP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi said that the suspects’ illegal mining practices were also affecting the environment in the area.

“Police had credible information about groups of people that conduct illegal mining activities in Rukopfu stream where they also wash and filter minerals, especially Wolfram. Police conducted an operation on Saturday and caught eleven people in the stream mining using traditional tools,” SP Karekezi said.

“We observed that these unlawful mining activities were affecting the environment, causing soil erosion but also destroying people’s fields,” he added.

The spokesperson warned against such illegal activities and urged the public to continue sharing information on these unlawful acts.

The suspects were handed over to RIB at Rubengera station for further legal process.

Article 54 of the law N° 58/2018 of 13/08/2018 on mining and quarry operations, states that; any person, who undertakes mineral or quarry exploration, exploitation, processing or trading without a licence, commits an offence.

Upon conviction, the offender is liable to imprisonment for a term of between two and six months and a fine of not less than Frw1 million and not more than Frw5 million or only one of these penalties.

The court also orders confiscation of any seized minerals or quarry in storage, trading or processing without a license.