They were arrested in Muhanda Sector, Bugarura Cell following the tip-off from members of the public.
According to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, the suspects were caught red-handed mining coltan in the gazetted area of Gishwati Forest.
“The operation followed the information provided by the members of the public as well as game rangers, we caught ten people in the process, who were found mining in the forest,” he said.
The spokesperson said that it is part of the ongoing operations to fight environmental-related crimes including unlawful mining activities, which also affect the environment.
“Rwanda National Police (RNP) in partnership with other institutions, are currently in joint efforts to combat all activities, especially illegal mining, which also contaminate water bodies and degrade the environment.”
On July 11, 14 people were arrested in Rusizi District after they were found mining illegally.
Earlier in July, 13 people were also arrested in Karongi District over illegal mining in Mashyiga River.
CIP Karekezi warned that illegal mining is a crime and the operations to arrest people who are involved in such activities are continuous. He urged the public to refrain from them and report such unlawful practices.
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 license 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 license.