He delivered the message recently during a meeting with residents of Bugeshi sector in Rubavu district where two young men and one woman were shot dead smuggling second-hand clothes to Rwanda through porous entries during night hours.
Habitegeko urged residents to comply with instituted regulations determining how trade should be done during times of COVID-19 instead of putting their lives at risk.
“Smuggling holds back national economy. Besides, it is saddening that smugglers cross through pathways used by enemies coming to threaten security. Despite ongoing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Government made possible efforts to provide trade opportunities and opened the border for you to continue trading with DRC counterparts,” he said.
“People cross the border in daylight but it won’t be easy for our soldiers to distinguish residents crossing around 2a.m from FDLR fighters maneuvering through the nearby valley to kill us,” added Habitegeko.
The Commander of Rwanda Defence (RDF) 3rd Division operating in Western Province, Maj Gen Alex Kagame advised Rubavu residents against smuggling as they are confused with enemies while crossing through military positions during night hours.
In the night of 23rd September 2021, Rwandan soldiers operating in Bugeshi sector shot dead three residents identified as Aime Twizerimana,24, Eric Hategekimana, 21 and Alliance Mukeshimana,32 Bugeshi who were smuggling second-hand clothes during night hours.
The incident took place few weeks after armed assailants suspected to be combatants of FDLR shot five cows in Rubavu district belonging to a resident identified as Jean de Dieu Twagirayezu.
The incident took place in Bereshi village, Hehu cell of Bugeshi sector during night hours around 10p.m.