Seven arrested over illegal mining, mineral trade

On 7 September 2020 at 07:04

Seven people were arrested in separate Police operations against illegal mining and mineral trade conducted in Kayumbu Sector of Kamonyi District.

The suspects include one Onesphore Kamana, 45, who was caught with 15 tonnes of Cassiterite and Coltan minerals.

Others are Joseph Nshimiyimana, 37, who was found with 300kgs of cassiterite and coltan and Justin Habumuremyi, 46, found with 31.5kgs.

Other four suspects were at the time conducting illegal mining activities.

They are identified as Jean Bosco Hagenimana, 25, Theoneste Gafaranga, 25, Samuel Iyakaremye, 28, and Theoneste Gafaranga, 48.

The information on these people’s illegal mineral business was shared by community policing partners, according to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Aloys Bugingo, the District Police Commander (DPC) of Kamonyi.

“These people fall in two groups; those who engage in mining and those who buy the minerals from them. There is a group of illegal miners that calls itself Abahebyi, which in most cases operates at night, and these strengthened operations are meant to break these chains," the DPC said.

He also issued fresh warning to the people involved in these illegal businesses that is not only dangerous to individuals, but also destroys the environment.

“They must know that their business is illegal and punishable by the law. Sometimes, these illegal mining activities have resulted into fatal accidents. Most of them do it at night, without even protecting themselves."

Similar operations conducted last week also saw the arrest of six illegal mineral dealers.

Article 54 of the law on mining and quarry operations, states that any person who undertakes mineral or quarry exploration, exploitation, processing or trading without a licence commits an offence.

Upon conviction, the offender is liable to imprisonment for a term of between two and six months and a fine of not less than Rwf1 million and not more than Rwf5 million or only one of these penalties.

The court also orders confiscation of any seized minerals or quarry in storage, trading or processing without a licence.