117 held in Nyarugenge anti-crime swoop
The Rwanda National Police (RNP) conducted an anti-crime operation in the central business district of Nyarugenge on Tuesday arresting 117 people said to be behind series of criminal acts.
Those apprehended include 31 suspected thieves and drug dealers and consumers, 47 street vendors, loiterers and beggars.
The District Police Commander, Chief Supt. Dismas Rutaganira said “it was a normal operation aimed at fighting and preventing crimes.”
Vending along Kigali streets is illegal following a 2009 directive from city authorities which penalizes those caught in this act.
Penalties for anyone caught vending or buying goods from a hawker include a fine of Rwf10, 000 and seizing the former’s belongings.
These decisions aimed at bringing order and security and improve hygiene in the city.
“We had reports of people involved in various criminal acts like theft where they would snatch ladies bags, electronics like phones, steal computers or other belongings in cars. These are things which embarrass the business community, the general public and even people visiting our country, which we can’t allow,” CSP Rutaganira said.
He added: “Rwanda National Police and Nyarugenge District held a meeting where we decided to avail a free market in Biryogo, where vendors should relocate to. They were also given an incentive of operating in this place without paying taxes or rent for six months. We sensitized them to shift to this market, but some of them resisted.”
“We, therefore, can’t tolerate this insubordination and secondly some wrongdoers disguise as vendors when in actual sense are drug dealers, using this chance to steal from clients by profiting this disorder. Such operations are therefore ways of maintaining public order and security in the city,” he explained.
Senior Supt. Urbain Mwiseneza, the central region police spokesperson said those apprehended were taken to Gikondo Transit Centre for screening.
“At the centre, they are given civic education and urged (vendors) to form cooperative societies, which helps their businesses to grow instead of remaining on streets, which is illegal and threats security. For those involved in other criminal acts, those found to be habitual are taken to Iwawa Rehabilitation and Vocational Development Centre,” Senior Supt. Mwiseneza said.
“We can’t allow anything that threats the peace and security of people and their property. There is always an alternative and a better one for every Rwandan to develop, an opportunity everyone should seize,” he added.