Rutsiro residents warned against distilling illicit brew

On 19 October 2019 at 03:59

Police and local leaders in Rutsiro District, on Thursday, seized about 700 litres of illicit brew from two distillers in Kivumu Sector, Nganzo Cell in Tawuni village who were warned residents against “breaking the law and poisoning people with harmful drinks.”

About 400 liters were seized from one Jean Baptiste Niyibizi while one Jean de Dieu was caught with 300 liters.

Police spokesperson for the Western region, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Emmanuel Kayigi, said the suspects had illegal breweries in their homes distilling ibikwangari and thanked community members, who reported the duo, thus protecting their community.

Community policing and information sharing, in particular, he added, is playing a big role in fighting illicit drugs and illegal breweries distilling substances.

“These substances have varied brand names such as ibikwangari and muriture, made out of unhealthy and harmful raw materials, distilled in unhygienic places and containers, and security concern,” said CIP Kayigi.

“There are laws, policies, and regulations, which must be respected and followed. Law enforcement agencies, local leaders, community policing groups and the public, in general, are working together against crimes and illicit drugs in particular,” Kayigi warned.

The Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) set standard requirements, including labeling (name of the products, physical and postal address of manufacturer); net contents in milliliters or liters; ethyl alcohol content; date of manufacture and expiry date; storage instructions; statutory warnings; and list of ingredients in descending order, among others.

Muriture and ibikwangari are classified as psychotropic substances under Ministerial Order Nº 001/MoH/2019 of 04/03/2019 establishing the list of narcotic drugs and their categorization.

Article two of the same Ministerial Order classifies narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, precursors and unauthorized drinks considered as drugs in three categories; very severe narcotic drugs, severe narcotic drugs, and simple narcotic drugs.

Article 5 of the same order lists simple narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, precursors and unauthorized drinks as alcoholic drinks produced without complying with standards and other laws; chemical substances whose original intended use has been altered and applied as a narcotic drug.

Article 263 of the law determining offences and penalties in general in Rwanda, provides an imprisonment term of not less than seven years and not more than ten years and a fine of not less than Rwf5 million and Rwf10 million, in regard to simple narcotics.