Police in Kamonyi District have arrested four people in connection with mineral theft. The suspects identified as Ali Hassan Ndungutse, 19, Alphonse Niyokwizera, 24, Jean Pierre Iradukunda, 26, and Jean Uwitonze, 36; were arrested on Wednesday in Kayenzi Sector, Cubi Cell in Gitwa Village in possession of 31kgs of coltan and cassiterite.
According to the Police Spokesperson for Southern region, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Sylvestre Twajamahoro, the minerals were stolen from COEMIKA, a mining firm in Kamonyi. The suspects were arrested in collaboration with local leaders and residents of the area, who provided information on their whereabouts.
“There were complaints about mineral theft in a concession in Kamonyi owned by COEMIKA, and Police at Kayenzi Police station responded. Residents had reported some people they suspected to be involved in illegal mineral business, including the four suspects,” CIP Twajamahoro said.
“During the operation Police officers and local leaders first arrested one suspect, who disclosed all the members of the ring. One of them was found with 28kgs of minerals; they were violent in an attempt to resist arrest but they were restrained.”
CIP Twajamahoro explained that the suspects would steal the minerals and sell them to other illegal dealers. He called for strengthened partnership and information sharing on any suspected 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 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.
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