The 17 Rwandans are part of a group of 55 individuals who were recently placed under surveillance due to alleged suspicious activities they were conducting. They were caught roaming near areas that have been pinpointed for selling unlicensed generic alcoholic beverages in Goma.
Carly Nzanzu Kasivita, North Kivu Governor had recently denounced the presence of a criminal network in Goma made of Burundians, Ugandans, and Rwandans who smuggled unlicensed products in Goma with the complicity of Goma residents. He called upon police authorities and residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity they might identify.
The 55 individuals who were arrested were on the police watchlist and placed on close surveillance until suspicions were confirmed.
Besides selling unlicensed alcohol and evading the payment of excise duties and VAT, some of the criminals were also indicted for abducting children.
Muisa Kense Timothée, the Mayor of Goma said the arrested criminals were placed under surveillance for a long time and that their arrest will reduce the rate of criminal activities in Goma. He recommended Goma residents to collaborate with the police to stop all illegal activities.
“I call upon residents and our police to take an active part in eradicating criminal activities in our city as it is affecting us all. There are thugs, thieves, and kidnappers in our city and without your collaboration, they will all keep thriving.”
He said that after being interrogated, the 17 Rwandans will be handed over to Rwanda to be tried for their crimes.
Rumors have been circulating that people are being abducted on a daily and their families asked ransoms on top of threats of killing them if the ransom is not given. Goma residents said the kidnappers are foreigners.