Eighty-eight people suspected of being behind series of cattle theft in the Eastern Province have been arrested in varied police operations.
The suspects were on September 21 paraded before about 3000 residents in Kabarole Sector of Gatsibo District, during a meeting that was presided over by the Minister of Local Government, Francis Kaboneka.
The community security meeting that brought together residents of Nyagatare and Gatsibo was also attended by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Emmanuel K Gasana, Prosecutor General Richard Muhumuza and representatives of other security organs.
The paraded suspects were arrested in varied joint operations conducted in the past one month in response to the recent spate of cattle rustling especially in the districts of Gatsibo, Nyagatare and Kayonza.
In a similar security meeting held early last month, authorities pledged to break the chain and bring suspects to book, calling for reinforcement of community policing.
According to police records cattle rustling is not a security threat so far, but even if small must be prevented and fought decisively.
“As we promised you, anyone who attempts to destabilise our country in whichever way will not be tolerated. This is why all concerned institutions worked together tirelessly to deliver on your request of bringing to book those suspected of cattle theft,” Minister Kaboneka told the residents.
He further pledged government support in ensuring their welfare but appealed for more partnership in ensuring that security is preserved.
“The Government is committed to seeing you accumulate wealth but that can only be achieved if you take it upon yourselves to have safe and secure communities…You should condemn and confront anyone who stands in your way to prosperity. Confront them with realities and facts on the ground and you will win,” Minister Kaboneka said.
IGP Gasana said that investigations and operations are still going on to track and arrest anyone connected to cattle theft.
“This is the success of good existing partnership with you through community policing and it’s the power of information sharing that led to the arrest of these suspects and recovery of the stolen cows,” IGP Gasana said.
He hastened to add that Rwanda is safe and secure today because of collaboration between citizens, security organs and other institutions.
“To preserve this safety we enjoy today, we must strengthen cooperation and collaboration and develop a sense of ownership.”
Prosecutor General Richard Muhumuza assured residents that such cases will no longer be handled by village mediators but instead prosecuted and tried in courts of law.
Available statistics indicate that from November last year to August this year, about 100 cows had been stolen Nyagatare alone of which majority have been recovered.
At least all the 17 cows that were stolen in Kayonza in this month alone have been recovered and seven people arrested in connection with the act.
Police said files of all the suspects have been completed and forwarded to prosecution.