These include Sylvestre Kabirigi, 64, Ildephonse Shakabuntu, 51, Alexis Ndabamenye, 41, and Cedrick Ishimwe ,18, who were caught red-handed mining cassiterite using traditional tools.
The Western region Police spokesperson, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi said that the suspects’ illegal mining practices were also affecting the environment.
"Residents in Bijyojyo cell reported that there are groups of people that conduct illegal mining activities in the area and wash minerals, especially cassiterite in water streams. In response to the information, the four men were arrested in the illegal act," CIP Karekezi said.
He added: "During the operation, it was observed that they had also cut bamboo trees planted along the stream and their activities were causing soil erosion."
The spokesperson thanked the residents for reporting the illegal mining acts and urged them to continue sharing information on anyone involved in unlawful mineral related practices and environmental degradation which in some cases result into loss of lives.
Last month, five people died in a concession in Ndaro Sector also in Ngororero District where they were conducting illegal mining activities.
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.