Six arrested in over illegal mining in Gakenke

On 23 September 2019 at 09:16

Six people were mid-last week arrested in connection with illegal mining in Coko Sector, Gakenke District

Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Roger Rwakayiro, the District Police Commander (DPC) for Gakenke said the suspects were arrested in Rutamba well.

They are Pierre Mpariyabarimba, 29, Elaste Nshimiyimana, 25, Vedaste Dufashingabo, 28, Pascal Bansibaniye, 45, Said Bamenyayabo, 29, and Vianney Dushimiyimana, 29.

The arrest came a few days after other illegal miners were caught in a concession located in Ruli Sector also in Gakenke.

"The majority of illegal miners use the cover of the night, which itself is dangerous because anything can happen in that darkness, that’s how some of them tamper with weak cliffs causing landslides, and some people have died in such scenarios," the DPC said.

He explained that illegal mining activities in wells and rivers also affect such water bodies and turn them brown.

"These activities are not only unlawful and risky, but they also affect the economy and the environment. We appeal to the public to join efforts against them by sharing information on people involved and locations where they’re conducted," CIP Rwakayiro said.

He also urged owners of mining concessions to take precautions against illegal mining activities and theft of minerals in their sites.

Gakenke is rich in cassiterite and wolfram, and the DPC warned that "operations are continuous" to arrest anyone found in such unlawful acts.

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 offense.”

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.