Rwanda National Police (RNP) has arrested three people in Nyagatare and Rubavu districts, who were trafficking the outlawed non-biodegradable plastic bags into Rwanda.
They were arrested separately on Thursday, October 15, with five sacks of polythene bags.
Two of the suspects; Olivier Niyonsenga, 20, and Etienne Twizerimana, 21, were intercepted in Kamahoro Village, Cyembogo Cell of Matimba Sector in Nyagatare District transporting four sacks of the banned products on two motorcycles.
The motorcycles used in the alleged crime; RD 914W, which was being ridden by Niyonsenga and RD 374Q ridden by Twizerimana, were also impounded.
The successful operations against traffickers of polythene bags were facilitated by credible information provided by local residents, Police said.
The products seized in Nyagatare were sneaked into Rwanda from Uganda, through a porous border point in Matimba.
Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Hamdun Twizeyimana, the Police spokesperson of the Eastern region, said that traffickers include two groups of Ugandans and Rwandans.
"A group of Ugandans sneak the products across the border and leave them at a certain point on the Rwandan territory. It's here that Rwandans pick them and transport them to other destinations; this was the same trick applied in this specific case," CIP Twizeyimana explained.
He added: "Local residents, who witnessed these illegal cross-border activities and trafficking called the Police immediately; the two motorcyclists were trailed and arrested with the four sacks of plastic bags."
The spokesperson thanked the residents for reporting such criminal acts.
"It is not the first time that members of the public have reported wrongdoers; it's a known and commendable spirit of community policing where they also report drug traffickers and mugglers."
Meanwhile, in Rubavu District, Police arrested one Devotha Nyirazaninka in Busasamana Sector, Gihonga cell with 4800 pieces of polythene bags concealed in a sack.
CIP Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, said that Nyirazaninka was intercepted on Thursday at about 10am, after a resident reported her to the Police.
"A resident saw Nyirazaninka that morning carrying a sack, and suspected it to be cannabis. Out of suspicion, the resident called the Police, but when officers intercepted and searched her luggage, they found it contained plastic bags. We have since established that she was hired by someone, who escaped after seeing the Police," said CIP Karekezi.
Article 10 of law N° 17/2019 of 10/08/2019 states that any person, who imports plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items is liable to the dispossession of those plastic carry bags and such items, and to an administrative fine equivalent to ten times the value of those plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items.
In article 12, a retailer of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items is liable to an administrative fine of Rwf300, 000 and dispossession of those plastic carry bags and such items