Two of the suspects identified as Justin Nsabimana, 36, and Jackson Niyonsaba, 33, were arrested on Tuesday, January 3, in Gitima Village of Tyazo Cell in Muhanga Sector following information provided by residents.
The duo was at the time found in possession of 160,000 pieces of plastic bags, concealed in two sacks.
Also arrested is one Jean Damascene
Samvura, 43, a resident of Kagoma Village, Buramba Cell in Gahunga Sector, Burera District, who is said to be the major trafficker and supplier of the polythene bags, mainly in the Northern and Southern provinces.
The fourth member of the same ring identified as Thomas Habanabakize, 35, was also arrested recently with at least 30 pieces of plastic bags.
While speaking to the media in Muhanga District on the separate successful operations, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Emmanuel Habiyaremye, the Police spokesperson for the Southern region, said that the arrest of Habanabakize, recently, and good collaboration with the public, unearthed further information on members of the group and how they operate.
"This further led to the arrest of Nsabimana and Niyonsaba in Muhanga and recovered a house in Tyazo Cell, which was being used as store for sacks of plastic bags, and where two sacks containing 160,000 pieces of plastic bags were found and the two suspects arrested at the scene " said CIP Habiyaremye.
He added that residents has also reported of likely criminal dealings at the same house, which was always closed during the day only opened at night by people carrying suspicious luggage.
"Following the arrest of Nsabimana and Niyonsaba, they named Samvura as the supplier, who also rented the same house in Tyazo to store plastic bags before supplying other traders. Samvura was arrested at another house in Burera, which was his first storage after sneaking the polythene bags into Rwanda from Uganda and where plastic bag packaging boxes were also found," CIP Habiyaremye explained.
The duo further disclosed that they trafficked the plastic bags from Samvura"s first store in Burera to Muhanga and intended to use other remote routes to deliver them to a trader in Huye District, whom they identified as Edison Twahirwa, yet to be arrested.
Those arrested were handed over to RIB for further investigations.
CIP Habiyaremye, who thanked those who reported the illegal acts, warned of the ill-effects of plastic bags on the environment and cautioned dealers and traders against the unlawful acts.
Manufacturing, use, importation or sale of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items are prohibited under article 3 of law N° 17/2019 of 10/08/2019 relating to the prohibition of manufacturing, importation, use, and sale of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items in Rwanda.
In article 10, any person, who imports plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items is liable to the dispossession of those plastic carry bags and such items, and to an administrative fine equivalent to ten times the value of those plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items.
In article 11, a wholesaler of plastic carry bags and single use plastic items is liable to an administrative fine of Rwf700, 000 and dispossession of those plastic carry bags and such items.
In article 12, a retailer of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items is liable to an administrative fine of Rwf300,000 and dispossession of those plastic carry bags and such items