The Northern region has rolled out a campaign in all its districts as Rwanda National Police (RNP) continues to mark its line against drug trafficking and consumption.
All the five District Police Units (DPUs) of Musanze, Burera, Gicumbi, Rulindo and Gakenke, on August 23 went down in communities to further woo the people in community policing activities to combat the vice which is still rated high in the region.
According to Inspector of Police (IP) Innocent Gasasira, the police spokesperson for the Northern region, the campaign, which will include promoting road safety, targets majority transporters.
This, he said, is because transporters have been sported among major players in drug trafficking.
“We are seeing an increase in vehicles involved in trafficking of illicit drugs especially banned gin, which is the most common crime in the region,” said IP Gasasira.
“In the recent weeks alone, five vehicles have been intercepted trafficking illicit gin; three were intercepted in Gicumbi while two others were impounded in Rulindo. This is another trend traffickers are using after Police discovered and blocked other methods,”
Culprits including accomplices were arrested in all occasions.
Late last month, two vehicles were intercepted in Byumba Sector of Gicumbi trafficking 431 dozens of Chief Waragi and 18 boxes of African gin.
Besides the gin being classified as illicit and a narcotic drug, Rwanda banned all alcoholic drinks parked in sachets as part of the general ban on plastic bags.
Article 24 of the law governing narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors in Rwanda, states that “any drink that exceeds forty five percent of alcohol and any other drink which doesn’t have the required quality for consumption shall be considered as narcotic drug.”
Growing, selling, transformation, transportation, storage and consumption of narcotic drugs are prohibited under article 593 and punishable, under article 594, with a term of imprisonment of three to five years and a fine of up to Rwf5 million.
According to Gasasira, Burera and Gicumbi districts are major transit routes for traffickers on illicit gin due to their strategic location.
Early this month, about 3060 litres of crude gin commonly known as Kanyanga, 651 cartons of Chief and Kitoko Waragi and 19680 sachets of Blue Sky seized in Gicumbi in the last two months, were destroyed.
Rubaya, Cyumba and Kaniga are said to be the identified routes in Gicumbi and police in the district maintains that there is a massive response through operations, community awareness and strong partnership and information exchange with the residents.
“This campaign will specifically engage drivers and transport associations and motorcycle cooperatives in general to forge strong partnership in information exchange and vigilance against drug dealers especially those who want to use their means or attempt to hire them to transport illegal luggage.”
Meanwhile, the campaign will also engage transporters on road safety emphasizing the need to respect traffic rules including limiting the speed, using a phone while driving and respecting the mechanical inspection policy, among others.