Two people were arrested on September 17, in Mushishiro Sector of Muhanga District with about 70 kilogrammes of untagged minerals.
The Police spokesperson for the Southern region, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Twizere Karekezi, said that Jean Damascene Ukurikiyumukiza, 34, and Aphrodis Ndayambaje, 35, were at the time smuggling the minerals on two motorcycles.
“They were intercepted along Muhanga Kigali highway with over 70 kilogrammes of untagged cassiterite minerals on two motorcycles; registration number RC 158Z ridden by Ukurikiyumukiza another motorcycle plate number RC 594X was being ridden by Ndayambaje. They were headed to Kigali from Muhanga,” CIP Karekezi said.
By law, minerals are supposed to be tagged before they are transported by licensed dealers or companies.
“Some residents of Mushishiro had earlier called the Police in Muhanga reporting two people they suspected to be involved in an illegal business, which prompted the Police operation,” he explained.
“The DPU (District Police Unit) of Muhanga mounted a search where the two suspects were intercepted, minerals seized and the motorcycles impounded. They were taken to the Police station where the suspects are also detained. The case is now under RIB,” he said.
“RIB investigations will inform if there are other arrests to be made by the Police,” he added.
The spokesperson warned motorcyclists against abetting crime.
It is alleged that some registered or illegal mineral dealers, connive with workers at concessions to buy minerals illegally.
In other cases, illegal miners sneak into concessions especially at night, a risky act that sometimes result into loss of lives when miners tamper with weak or unsupported cliff causing landslides.
The ministerial order relating to fighting smuggling in mineral trading specifies that “nobody is allowed to purchase or sell minerals without commercial registration.”
Under the same order, transportation of minerals outside mining licensed areas (concessions and permits perimeters) is only allowed, when the consignment shows the source mine, its value and when it has the right tag.
The penal code in its article 440, provides a term of imprisonment of between one and three years and a fine of two times the amount of the value of the received or exported substances.