Police in Gatumba Sector of Ngororero District arrested a man identified as Aimable Sibomana, 56, for allegedly conducting illegal mining activities and destroying people's plantations.
Sibomana was arrested on January 6, in Karambo Cell, Rwamiko Village where he was at the time mining cassiterite in residents' gardens.
Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, said that Sibomana was at the time in the company of one Bizimezente Leonard, who managed to flee in the process.
"Residents called the Police reporting people, who were destroying their gardens in search for minerals. Indeed, the deployed Police officers found the two men after mining a heap of soil, which they were filtering in the nearby well to separate cassiterite minerals from the soil.
Unfortunately, one of the suspects--Bazimezente--fleed but Sibomana was apprehended and handed over to RIB at Gatumba station as the search for his accomplice continues," CIP Karekezi said.
He added that besides engaging in illegal mining, which is punishable by law, their unlawful acts were also affecting the environment as well as people's plantations.
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 licence 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.
The court also orders confiscation of any seized minerals or quarry in storage, trading or processing without a license.
"They were washing and filtering the minerals in the well, and such practices are affecting water bodies and quaculture as well as causing soil erosion," CIP Karekezi said.
He thanked residents, who reported the unlawful acts and called for strengthened partnership in information sharing on anyone suspected to be involved in these illgal and environmental degradation practices.