Five arrested with illegally acquired minerals

On 28 November 2020 at 11:48

Separate Rwanda National Police (RNP) operations against illegal mining and trade in minerals saw five people arrested on Thursday, November 26, in City of Kigali and Kamonyi District.

In Kigali, one Kennedy Ngirabakunzi was arrested in Intwali Village, Rwampara Cell of Nyarugenge Sector in Nyarugenge District, in possession of 40kgs of Cassiterite.

Ngirabakunzi had allegedly acquired the minerals from another suspected illegal mineral dealer in Rutonde Cell, Shyorongi Sector in Rulindo District, according to the Police.

“Following information from a resident that Ngirabakunzi is an illegal mineral dealer and had acquired some quantities of Cassiterite from another mineral dealer in Shyorongi, he was intercepted in Nyarugenge with 40kgs. He was at the time transporting the precious minerals on a motorcycle, which was also impounded,” said Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Sylvestre Twajamahoro, the Police spokesperson for the City of Kigali.

Four others were arrested in Kamonyi District. They include the trio of Jean de Dieu Ndahimana, Sandrine Niyoniringira and Tito Hagenimana, who were arrested in Rukoma Sector with 26.5kgs of coltan; and Samuel Mugisha, who was arrested in Kayenzi Sector where he was found mining.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Theobald Kanamugire, the Police spokesperson for the Southern region, said that the separate operations had been planned and targeted individuals and groups listed as illegal minerals dealers.

“Ndahimana, Niyoniringira and Hagenimana were on the list of illegal minerals dealers in Kamonyi. On Wednesday night, Police received information that Ndahimana and Niyoniringira had brought new consignments of minerals at their homes in Bugoba and Mwirute cells, respectively.

During the Police search at about 5am on Thursday, officers recovered 20kgs of coltan from the house of Niyoniringira and 6.5kgs in the house of Ndahimana,” said SP Kanamugire.

“Later that early morning, Police officers directed their operations at the coltan concession in Rukoma, from where they got the minerals. They caught their accomplice Hagenimana at the site with a generator, spades, torches and a weighing scale, which they were using in illegal mining as well as a motorcycle, which they were using to transport the minerals,” he added.

Meanwhile, Samuel Mugisha was arrested at a mining concession located in Kayenzi Sector, Bugarama Cell in Buhurura Village.

“Besides dealing in minerals or conducting mining illegally, the two concessions in Rukoma and Kayenzi are no longer in use. They were closed over safety concerns and entering in these tunnels is like committing suicide. Targeted operations against these unlawful and life-threatening activities are continuous,” SP Kanamugire warned.

Article 54 of the law on mining and quarry operations, states that; “any person, who undertakes mineral or quarry exploration, exploitation, processing or trading without a licence commits an offence.”

Upon conviction, the offender is liable to imprisonment for a term of between two and six months and a fine of not less than Rwf1 million and not more than Rwf5 million or only one of these penalties.

The court also orders confiscation of any seized minerals or quarry in storage, trading or processing without a license.