Revenue Protection Unit breaks smuggling ring

On 24 July 2020 at 10:06

The Rwanda National Police (RNP) Revenue Protection Unit has intercepted assorted goods in Rubavu District, which were being smuggled into the country from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

The goods, including 23 bales of secondhand clothes and about 250kgs of used shoes, were impounded on Wednesday July 22, from ten smugglers in Rubavu Sector, Buhaza cell in Murambi village.

The smugglers were also taken into custody.

Other goods intercepted from the smugglers include liquors, powdered milk, traditional fabric commonly known as kitenge, cooking flavours, boxes of cigarettes as well as products banned in Rwanda including plastic bags and body bleaching lotions and glycerine.

Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, said that earlier on Wednesday, the RPU received credible information from an informer about a big group of smugglers that would sneak goods into the country later in the night from DRC, through an illegal border point.

"Operations were organized and ten people belonging to the same ring, were arrested at about 9:30 PM with the smuggled goods.

Six of the smugglers were at the time crossing into Rwanda with the goods. Other goods were recovered from houses of four suspects, who are said to be facilitating smugglers to keep or hide their goods before they are transported to the final destination," CIP Karekezi said.

"The intercepted smuggled goods include 23 bales of ’caguwa’ and 250kgs of used shoes, 1,434 assorted pieces of banned skin bleaching products, 12 bottles of Red Label, 200 tins of Salsa, five cartons of cigarettes and six cartons of outlawed non-biodegradable polythene bags, among others," he added

The spokesperson said that they are still searching for the owners of the goods since those arrested allege that they were either hired to smuggle the goods across the border or paid to use their houses as stores.

"All the suspects have also been quarantined for 14 days before other legal processes. This is to ensure that if they got infected with COVID-19 during the unlawful process, they don’t infect others."

CIP Karekezi thanked the resident, who facilitated the foiling of this fraud, which would otherwise see banned and harmful products brought in the markets.

He warned communities residing on the border lines against facilitating fraud and other criminal activities like drug trafficking, and called for strengthened information sharing on anyone involved.

"These are unlawful activities, but we are also in a fragile period where such criminal actions can also be the source of COVID-19.

Remember that these people coming to your home delivering goods or crossing borders and living in your community; they could also bring the virus in your house and the village," CIP Karekezi said.