They were arrested in a coordinated operation conducted by Rwanda National Police (RNP), local leaders and members of other security organs, said Superintendent of Police (SP) Theobald Kanamugire, the Police spokesperson for the Southern region.
He identified those arrested as Emmanuel Ndayahoze, 32, who was found in possession of 13kgs of cassiterite ; Claude Ngizwenayo, 28 (4kgs), as well as the trio of Simon Mugwiza, 29, Jonathan Kwizera, 20 and Emmery Dushimimana who were found with 3kgs, each.
"They were being suspected of selling minerals illegally. On Monday early morning, a search was conducted in their respective houses, where they 26kgs were recovered and suspects taken into custody," SP Kanamugire said.
Such illegal mineral trade, he added, also influence malpractices in mining activities.
"Illegal mineral traders create also market for illegal miners and mineral thieves. These strengthened operations, are therefore, meant to fight all those illegal activities in mineral business," said SP Kanamugire.
He warned against such unlawful acts and urged residents to report other people engaged in mineral business illegal.
The suspects and exhibits were handed over to RIB at Rukoma station for further investigations.
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.