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Rwanda National Police

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Police discover more stores used by illegal mineral dealers

The Rwanda National Police (RNP) anti-smuggling and organized crimes department has discovered two more houses in Kicukiro District, which were being used by illegal mineral traders to store mineral bought from thieves.

During the Monday, April 1, operations, Police recovered 239kgs of cassiterite from the two houses located in Kigarama sector, Karugira cell in Ihuriro village. Some 18 people were arrested in the two houses during the operations.

Those arrested include owners of the houses and their partners, who were spearheading the rackets of mineral thieves and illegal dealers.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Sylvestre Twajamahoro, the Police spokesperson for City of Kigali, said Police acted on a tip-off from the public on the unlawful operations in the two houses.

"One house was being used to filter cassiterite from sand while the other used as store for the cleaned and smuggled cassiterite minerals," SP Twajamahoro said.

He added: "All the 18 suspects, who are members of the same ring, were arrested at the scene where Police also seized assorted tools that they were using."

The minerals were stolen from mining concessions in Gakenke, Rulindo and Muhanga districts and transported to the two houses in Kicukiro..

This comes on the heels of increased Police operations against, illegal mining, mineral theft and illegal mineral trade.

On Saturday, March 30, Police uncovered other two houses in Rulindo District with underground tunnels used by thieves to steal cassiterite minerals from the nearby concession located about 200 metres from the houses. Nine people were apprehended in the two houses.

Similar operations conducted last week in Rulindo and Rwamagana districts also led to the arrest of 48 people, where stealing minerals from Rutongo and Musha concessions, respectively, as well as illegal mineral dealers, who were buying the minerals from thieves.

Mineral related business is only conducted by licensed people or companies.

In article 54 of the law No. 58/2018 of 13/08/2018 on mining and quarry operations; 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 Frw1 million and not more than Frw5 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.