Three arrested over illegal mining

On 8 August 2020 at 03:14

Three people were arrested on Thursday, August 6, in Rutsiro District in connection with illegal mining.

Those arrested are Jean Marie Vianney Yadufashije, 27, Gaspard Habiyambere, 32, and Consolée Yankurije, 33.

They were found in closed coltan concession located in Rusebeya Sector, Kabona Cell.

Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, said that the suspects are part of the group of about 40 members, who conduct illegal mining activities in the closed site.

"Besides being illegal to carry out mining activities when they were not authorised, this is a concession that was closed on safety grounds. Going there is not only unlawful but risky to one’s life," CIP Karekezi said.

"They had a heap of soil, which they were taking to filter to get coltan," he added.

The spokesperson noted that the concession is in a dire state and anything small can cause a landslide.

Such illegal acts, he noted, have equally affected the environment in the area as well as destroying people’s gardens and blocking water channels from where they filter and wash the minerals.

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.