The quartet belong to an illegal mining group that calls itself ‘Abanyogosi’ operating mainly in Rongi coltan mines located in Muyebe Village, Ruhango Cell, Rongi Sector of Muhanga District.
Those arrested are Eugene Ngirababyeyi, 28, Paul Ngirumukiza, 23, Ndazivunnye Dusingizimana, 26, and Elias Nizeyimana, 24.
The Southern region Police spokesperson, Superintendent of Police (SP) Theobald Kanamugire said that the suspects were arrested following complaints raised by the mining company.
"The mining company management had lodged a complaint about people, who sneak into their concession to extract and steal minerals especially at night," said SP Kanamugire
He added: "Police collaborated with local leaders and residents to identify those involved leading to the arrest of the four men, who are part of the same racked that nicknamed itself Abanyogosi. They were arrested in their respective homes where assorted traditional tools they were using in illegal mining were also recovered."
These illegal mining activities, he explained, sometimes become fatal.
"Besides being illegal conducting mining when you are not licensed, it is also a serious security issue. A number of illegal miners have died or survived with injuries in concessions where they go at night with no idea or information on its status and end up tampering with weak cliffs or tilting supporting cliffs and stones."
Those arrested were handed to RIB at Kiyumba station for further investigation
Article 54 of the law N° 58/2018 of 13/08/2018 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.