Those arrested are Fabien Ntibazirikana, 29, Felicien Habyarimana, 22, and Claude Dusabikize 26.
Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, said that the trio was found mining in a closed coltan concession located in Kavumu Sector, Tetero Cell in Mizingo Village.
“They were arrested in an operation that was mainly targeting illegal miners, which is a common practice in the area. Police officers found them inside the concession mining coltan,” CIP Karekezi said.
“The concession was closed over standards and lack of legal documents, it’s in bad shape and these people were at a very high risk looking at where they were found; their lives were in danger with no protective gears nor life protection insurance,” he explained.
He warned the residents against such illegal and life-threatening activities, and urged them to protect lives by reporting illegal miners.
Article 3 of the ministerial regulations on fighting smuggling in mineral trading, forbids “importation of minerals into Rwanda without proper documents indicating their origin and the weight at origin, given by the right authorities.”
These minerals have to be with required trade documents, and to be certified and tagged by competent authorities.
Equally, article 4 provides that transportation of minerals outside mining licensed areas—concessions and permits perimeters—is only allowed, when the consignment shows the source mine, its value and when it has the right tag.
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 orders confiscation of any seized minerals or quarry in storage, trading or processing without a licence.