The forest is under the conservation of the University of Rwanda, Huye Campus.
Those arrested on Thursday, December 3, are Bernard Twahirwa, 49, Alexis Nshimiyimana, 26, and Paul Ntayomba, 42.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Theobald Kanamugire, the Police spokesperson for the Southern region, said that the trio was reported by the local night security patrol—Irondo.
“At about 6pm on Thursday, members of Irondo in Taba Village, Cyarwa Cell in Tumba Sector, while on duty, saw Twahirwa and Nshimiyimana carrying trees. They followed them to the home of Ntayomba where a heap of trees was found,” SP Kanamugire said.
He added: “At first, the suspects argued that they got the trees from their forest, but they later disclosed that they got the trees from the protected university forest in Tumba, where we later found that more than 100 trees were cut. However, the suspects together with other people, who were armed with machetes, tried to harm the Irondo personnel. The local security personnel called the Police and the three prime suspects were taken into custody.”
Twahirwa and Nshimiyimana were selling the trees to Ntayomba. The suspects were handed over to Rwanda Investigation Bureau at Ngoma station.
The spokesperson warned of increased operations against human practices that destroy the environment such as charcoal burning, construction and cutting trees for sell.
Article 44 of the law on environment, prohibits cutting trees in forests or protected areas like national parks or burning them.
Article 59 of the same legal instrument stipulates that any person, who causes death, destroys protected plants, harvests or damages them, commits an offence.”
Upon conviction, the offender is liable to an imprisonment term of not less than three years and not more than five years and a fine of between Rwf1 million and Rwf3 million