Karongi: Four arrested in Police operations against illegal mining

On 3 March 2021 at 05:46

Four people were arrested recently in Karongi District as part of the ongoing Rwanda National Police (RNP) crackdown on illegal mining activities and related business.

Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, said that the quartet was found filtering minerals in Butita stream located in Karambi Village, Tyazo Cell of Rugabano Sector.

He identified the suspects as Ndahimana Damascène, 23, Mudatinya Viateur, 30, Nduhura Claude, 28 and one Rwanzegushira, 42.

The spokesperson said that the suspects are part of the group that sneaks into streams apparently to exploit gold.

"Last month, Police arrested 15 people in the same stream and these four are also members of the same group that engages in illegal mineral exploitation in Butita and Musogoro streams. Most illegal miners are arrested in the sectors of Rugabano, Rubengera and Gashari," CIP Karekezi said.

He added that these illegal mining activities in the streams also lead to water pollution and environmental degradation.

Environmental experts say that such activities release substances into water bodies making water unsafe for human use and disrupts aquatic ecosystems.

According to CIP Karekezi, illegal miners in these streams are also affecting the nearby environment where they cut trees in search of minerals.

While thanking some local residents who report such unlawful acts, the spokesperson also warned those who facilitate these criminal practices.

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 license commits an offense.”

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.