Rwanda National Police (RNP) has intercepted three Burundian women, who were apparently being trafficked to Saudi Arabia through Rwanda.
The victims, all mothers were identified and intercepted at Kanyaru border post on July 16, as they crossed into Rwanda.
Police has since arrested a man of Kenyan nationality identified as Asman Macharia Wakira, who was apprehended the same day also at Kanyaru.
The victims and the suspect, yesterday, talked to the media at the RNP headquarters in Kacyiru and narrated the ordeal to journalists.
The suspect, however, attempted to deny any knowledge of the women but the victims implicated him and insisted that he was the person behind the whole scandal.
One of the victims (names withheld), narrated that they were approached separately by another Burundian woman in Bujumbura, where they live as neighbors, and sold them a plan to take them to Saudi Arabia, where they would earn approximately 500, 000 Burundian francs monthly.
None of the victims, who are neighbors, knew that the other was either in the loop or headed to the same destination.
“On the eve of our journey, we were surprised to find ourselves saying bye to each other, all of us going to Saudi Arabia and met in one vehicle that was headed to Kigali from Bujumbura,” one of the victims said.
“The recruiter told us that on reaching the border, we would find someone on the Rwandan side, who would facilitate our travel to Nairobi through Uganda, where our visas would be processed,” she added.
Little did the women know that the person in question, who would help them at the border, was actually Wakira, whom they were on board together right from Bujumbura.
“We didn’t know Wakira neither did we know that he was on board as well; when we reached at the border, we couldn’t explain where exactly we were going in Kigali, which was our first line of defence but Wakira appeared from nowhere and started to whisper in our ears what to tell the police including places in Rwanda and contacts of people where we were going,” another victim narrated.
The women narrated that the suspect even bought lunch for them at the border, before he was identified and arrested by the police, after they decided to tell the investigators the truth of the matter.
RNP spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Celestin Twahirwa, said that Wakira was arrested after investigations.
“Police officers followed closely Wakira’s actions and his involvement with the women; the victims actually, later after knowing that Wakira was the main person, who was behind their recruitment and their contact in Rwanda as they were told, frankly passed the information over to police,” ACP Twahirwa said.
He warned that “Rwanda has set her line straight and clear against human trafficking and it can neither be a recruitment base for modern day slaves nor a transit and that falls in the mandate of the police and it should be the responsibility of everyone through timely information sharing.”
“We have good working relations with both Burundi and Kenya police forces as par separate agreements and we will work together even on this similar case to ensure that justice is served,” he said.
He further pointed out that Plans are under to repatriate the victims and the suspect will be prosecuted.
Human trafficking, under the Rwandan laws is punishable with an imprisonment of between seven and ten years and a fine of up to Rwf10 million as stipulated under articles 250 to 253 of the penal code.
However, when the crime of human trafficking is committed internationally, the jail term ranges between ten and 15 years and a fine of between Rwf10 million and Rwf15 million.
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