70 arrested in Police crackdown on livestock theft

On 18 February 2024 at 06:38

About 70 people have been arrested in different parts of the country over the past three months in connection with theft of livestock.

The Rwanda National Police (RNP) spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Boniface Rutikanga said those arrested belong to chains of thieves, transporters, owners of meat shops, bars, restaurants and supermarkets where meat is sold.

"The majority 34 people were arrested in Muhanga District where cases of cattle theft are high; 19 in Nyagatare District while others were arrested in Kamonyi, Nyanza, Huye and Kicukiro districts," said ACP Rutikanga.

"So far, 56 cows have been reported stolen over the past three months and during the operations, Police managed to impound about 900kgs of meat.

In most cases, thieves slaughter the stolen livestock including goats and pigs, and sell them in butchers, bars, hotels, restaurants and supermarkets," he added.

He warned that operations are still ongoing to break these chains, to face justice.

"We have a list of other suspected members of these chains, majority operating meat stores, hospitality establishments and supermarkets that buy meat from livestock thieves, and largely influencing theft. There are also motorcyclists and drivers who transport meat from the bush where cows, goats and pigs are slaughtered."

ACP Rutikanga thanked members of the public, who continue to support these successful operations with credible information on those involved.

Gaspard Simbarikure, in charge of Veterinary Hygiene and Quarantine Specialist at Rwanda Inspectorate, Competition and Consumer Protection Authority (RICA), said that 4 tonnes of uninspected meat have been impounded and disposed of since September last year.

Article 5 of the regulation n˚ DGO/REG/003 of 25/04/2022 governing meat businesses stipulates that "any business operator except meat transporters, who wishes to carry out the business regulated by this regulation, shall have to be licensed by the Regulatory Authority.

In article 30, meat intended for human consumption shall be accompanied by the veterinary meat inspection certificate issued by an authorized meat inspector of the slaughterhouse from which the meat is sourced.

Veterinary meat inspection certificates issued at the slaughterhouse are only those obtained from the Regulatory Authority.

"There are a lot of things involved in these criminal acts; there is theft, health risks involved especially when an uninspected and harmful meat is sold to consumers, and financial losses," Simbarikure said.