The Rwanda National Police (RNP) Environment Protection Unit (EPU) arrested seven people on Monday for allegedly cutting trees and illegal mining activities.
Five people were arrested in separate operations conducted in the sectors of Muhanga and Nyarusange, both in Muhanga District while illegally mining coltan.
Police spokesperson for the Southern region, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Emmanuel Kayigi identified the suspects apprehended in illegal mining, as Athanase Niyitegeka, Neophite Habyarimana, Pascal Kubwimana, Alexandre Nshimiyimana, Damascene Habyarimana and Joseph Nyandwi.
“They were caught with 20kgs of coltan, which they had mined illegally,” CIP Kayigi said.
He warned against the illegal act saying that “operations are continuous to enforce the law on mining against all malpractices within the mining industry” which are also blamed partly causing environmental degradation.
Meanwhile, a vehicle was also intercepted in Kayonza District transporting trees allegedly cut in a gazatted forest in Rwinkwavu
The vehicle was impounded to Rwinkwavu Police staion, where the driver is also detained.
According to law, nobody is allowed to go into the forest for the purpose of burning or cutting trees without an approval from the government.
Article 416 of the penal code that says “any person who illegally burns a forest, cuts trees or who causes others to do so or kills animals in classified forests, protected areas and national parks, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of six months to two years and a fine of Rwf300, 000 to Rwf2 million or one of these penalties.”
Article one of the Ministerial Regulations by the Ministry of Commerce relating to fighting smuggling in mineral trading, also stipulates in part that nobody is allowed to purchase or sell minerals without commercial registration.
While article 4 of the same instrument indicates that transportation of minerals outside mining licensed areas (concessions and permits perimeters) is only allowed, when the consignment shows the source, its value and when it has the right tag.
The Express News