Scores of people, who cut trees and destroy protected forests have been arrested in Police operations against environmental degradation, in partnership with the public.
On Tuesday, November 15, Police, local leaders and residents of Rulindo District apprehended one Elias Tuyisenge, 28, who was allegedly felling trees in a protected forest located in Gatete Village, Kamushenyi Cell in Kisaro Sector.
At the time of his arrest, Tuyisenge had already cut over 40 trees.
"He had turned this into a business... to cut trees in this protected forest and sell them," said Superintendent of Police (SP) Alex Ndayisenga, the Northern Region Political and Civic Education Officer (RPCEO).
Tuyisenge, he added, was reported by residents after they saw him coming out of the forest carrying trees.
SP Ndayisenga warned against these serious acts of destroying biodiversity and called for increased public ownership to fight deforestation.
Article 44 of Law N°48/2018 of 13/08/2018 on environment prohibits the following acts in order to protect biodiversity: burning forests, national parks and reserved areas, burning swamps, grazing land, bushes, grass with the aim of agriculture or organising grazing land, killing, injuring and capturing animals of endangered species, destroying or damaging habitats, larvae, pupae or the young animals of the endangered species, causing death or burning protected plants, harvesting or destroying them, transporting or selling the remains of a whole or part of an animal and plants of endangered species, and cutting trees in forests or protected areas or in national parks.
In article 59; any person, who causes death, destroys protected plants, harvests or damages them, commits an offence. Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than three years and not more than five years and a fine of not less than Rwf1 million and not more than Rwf3 million.