Police in Muhanga District has impounded a vehicle loaded with 2730kgs of coltan and cassiterite minerals, which were allegedly stolen from different mining companies in the Western and Southern provinces.
The vehicle; Jeep Land Cruiser RAB 232S, was intercepted Monday in Nyamabuye Sector, Remera Cell. The minerals were concealed in 39 sacks, each weighing 70kgs, Police said.
“At around 1a.m on Monday, Police in Muhanga received a phone call from a resident in Mata trading centre, Tyazo Cell of Muhanga Sector reporting people, who were loading goods in a vehicle and suspected some foul-play,” Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Sylvestre Twajamahoro, the Police spokesperson for the Southern Region, said.
“Police officers were dispersed, and the vehicle was intercepted in Remera Cell, Nyamabuye sector, searched and indeed found it was transporting 39 sacks of coltan and cassiterite minerals. Two people, who were on board didn’t have legal documents for the minerals and they were taken into custody,” he added.
The minerals were being transported to Kigali, according to the spokesperson. Those taken into custody are identified as Eugene Nkundimana (driver) and his accomplice Jean D’Amour Masabo.
“We have since established that the minerals were stolen from three mining concessions; Execok of Karongi District, TMT of Rutsiro and Big Mining of Ruhango and other quantities from Ngororero. We have also established that a house belonging to one only identified as Kazuru located in Mata trading centre, from where the minerals were loaded, was being used by the suspected thieves as their store.”
CIP Twajamahoro thanked the resident, who informed the Police about the illegal act and called for strengthened partnership and information sharing on any suspected unlawful acts
Article 54 of the law 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 Rwf1 million and not more than Rwf5 million or only one of these penalties.