Authorities in Western Province have disposed of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances worth over Rwf303 million, which were seized from dealers in separate Rwanda National Police (RNP) operations conducted in Rubavu, Ngororero and Nyabihu districts.
The public destruction exercise was held on Thursday, May 26, in Nyabibuye Village, Gikombe Cell of Nyakiriba Sector in Rubavu District.
The narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, include over 1000kgs of cannabis, 361 litres of a banned crude gin commonly known as Kanyanga, and 164 sachets of Simba, an illicit gin packed in outlawed plastic bags.
They were seized in RNP operations conducted since September last year in the three districts.
At least 103 people were arrested with the substances, including 76 in Rubavu, 23 in Nyabihu and 4 in Ngororero.
Rubavu is mapped as one of the major corridors for drug dealers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The mayor of Rubavu Ildephonse Kambogo, while addressing the residents shortly after the destruction of the narcotics, advised the youth to seek alternative and legal means to prosperity instead of wasting time and resources in criminality.
“These narcotics are the enemy to human life. You are poisoning people out of personal greed ignoring the ill-effects these narcotics have on people’s health but also the years you are likely to spend in prison when you are arrested,” Mayor Kambogo told the residents.
Cannabis is classified as a very severe narcotic drug in Rwanda with an imprisonment of between 20 years and life sentence, and a fine of between Frw20 million to Frw30 million, under article 263 of the law determining offences and penalties in general.
Kanyanga and other alcoholic drinks produced without following the standards and those unauthorized for sale in Rwanda, are considered as simple drugs.
Upon conviction for “simple drugs” the offender faces between seven and ten years in prison and a fine of Frw5 million to Rwf10 million.
“You are destroying yourself, your future and country because abusing drugs discourages your ability and relevance to work for your family and influence other criminal behaviours. We need to own this fight together as parents, mentors, communities and grassroots leaders to support our law enforcement organs to protect our children,” Kambogo said.
Janvier Munyaneza, the Chief Prosecutor for Rubavu, Nyabihu and Ngororero districts said that some of those arrested were convicted while others case files are still being handled by courts.
He advised residents particularly the youth, who constitute the majority who were arrested, to refrain from dealing in narcotics because of the severe penalties involved.
“Penalties for drug trafficking and trade were increased to life imprisonment. This is the reason why you should not waste your life but divert your efforts to many other available opportunities,” said Munyaneza.
The Western Region Police Commander (RPC), Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Edmond Kalisa thanked the residents for their role in breaking chains of drug dealers.
He added that most of those arrested were reported by the residents and called for continued partnership and information sharing on other traffickers, local distributors and retailers.
He further warned against abusing drugs, which he said it also amounts to crime.
Any person who, in any way, eats, drinks, injects himself/herself, inhales or one who anoints oneself with psychotropic substances, commits an offence, punishable by an imprisonment term between one and two years or subject to a penalty of community service.