Police seized from the dealers assorted smuggled goods and banned products, worth of Rwf1.5 million. They include skin whitening cosmetics, boxes of cigarettes and food flavours.
Jolie Nyirasafari, one of those arrested for selling skin bleaching cosmetics, said that she was buying them from other dealers.
“Police found in Gisenyi market where I was selling outlawed cosmetics. I was buying them from other dealers, who traffic them into Gisenyi town from DR Congo through illegal borders," said Nyirasafari.
One Hakim Hakizimana also admitted that he was selling goods obtained illegally and asked for leniency.
“I was selling two different types of salsa (tomato paste), which we get from DRC because they are banned here," said Hakizimana.
The Western region Police spokesperson, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi said that the suspects were arrested as part of the launched countrywide operations against smuggling and dealers in outlawed goods.
"If you know that you are buying and selling illegal goods, beware that you will be arrested," CIP Karekezi warned.
He advised traders to refrain from buying goods through illegal channels and to avoid selling banned products, which is punishable by law. He further disclosed that 36 people have so far been arrested in Western Province in the past six days.
Article 266 of the law determining offenses and penalties in general, states that any person, who produces, sells, or prescribes harmful products; cosmetics or body hygiene substance or any other products derived from plants, commits an offence. Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year and not more than two years and a fine of not less than Rwf3 million and not more than Rwf5 million or one of these penalties.