Kamonyi: Vehicle intercepted transporting 560kgs of smuggled minerals

On 6 February 2021 at 12:25

Police in Kamonyi District have impounded a vehicle which was transporting about 560kgs of smuggled minerals.

The vehicle registration number RAC 963F was intercepted on Friday, February 5, at about 5:30am at Nyabarongo bridge, en route to Kigali.

The coltan and cassiterite minerals were concealed in five sacks.

Six people, who were on board, including the driver identified as Anderson Nshimiyimana, 45, were also taken into custody.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Theobald Kanamugire, the Police spokesperson for the Southern region, said the smugglers were reported by a resident of Rukoma Sector in Kamonyi District, from where the minerals were loaded in the vehicle.

"A resident called the Police at about 4am reporting people, who were loading minerals in the vehicle and suspected a foul-play. The resident provided details including the type of vehicle and plate numbers," SP Kanamugire said.

Police, he added, got to know that the minerals would be transported to Kigali.

"With detailed information about the fraud, a roadblock was mounted at Nyabarongo bridge where the vehicle was intercepted, minerals seized and all the six people who were aboard the same vehicle taken into castody," said SP Kanamugire.

He identified the other five people on board as Daniel Ukurikiyeyezu, Jean Claude Nzayisenga, Bosco Uzabakiriho, Francis Nizeyimana and Jean Damascene Hakizimana.

The suspects claimed that the minerals belong to a mineral company operating in Kicukiro District but could not produce any supporting document.

Besides, minerals are supposed to be tagged and with legal documents before they are transported from one place to another.

"They first lied that they got the minerals from Karongi District little did they know that this was a planned operation based on credible information. It is also alleged that the minerals were mined illegally in closed concessions located in Rukoma Sector."

The spokesperson thanked the resident, who reported the unlawful act.

"They minerals were mined and transported illegally by unlicensed people," he said.

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 may order confiscation of any seized minerals in storage, trading or processing without a license.