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Rwanda Police Arrests Two With 630kgs Of Smuggled Minerals

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Police in Ngororero District, on Friday March 12, impounded a vehicle–Toyota Land Cruiser plate number RAC 251G–in Ndaro Sector loaded with 630kgs of smuggled coltan and cassiterite minerals.

Two people, who were on board the vehicle; the driver identified as Silver Murekeyimana, 31, and one Alexis Ngaboyishema, 49, the suspected rightful owner of the minerals, were arrested in the process.

Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, said the smugglers were arrested following a tip-off from residents.

“At around 6pm, Police in Ndaro Sector received information that Ngaboyishema, a suspected illegal mineral dealer, was loading minerals in the vehicle Toyota Land Cruiser plate number RAC 251G. An operation was planned and the vehicle was intercepted shortly after in Gasave Village, Bijyojyo Cell transporting 630kgs of coltan and cassiterite,” CIP Karekezi explained.

The minerals were being transported to Kigali.

“They had some papers, but it was observed that this was a trick to evade taxes.

For example, papers indicate that they were issued in Muhanga but they were intercepted transporting the minerals from Ngororero. Also, some of the minerals were tagged while others were not,” the spokesperson said.

According to CIP Karekezi, there were reports that Ngaboyishema is an illegal mineral dealer and was being trailed.

He thanked the residents, who reported the fraud, and warned against such practices.

“The law is clear; for you to deal in mineral trade you have to be licensed or given authorization documents.

The vehicle transporting the minerals should also bear supporting documents and minerals must be tagged to trace their originality,” the spokesperson said.

The suspects were handed over to Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) at Gatumba station.

The law on mining and quarry operations in it’s article 54 states that “any person, who undertakes mineral or quarry exploration, exploitation, processing or trading without a license commits an offense.”

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.