A taxi vehicle was on Saturday, November 7, intercepted in Kanembwe Village of Busigari Cell in Cyanzarwe Sector, Rubavu District with 250 kilogrammes of smuggled tourmaline minerals.
The minerals had been smuggled into Rwanda from the neighbouring DR. Congo.
The driver of the taxi Toyota Carina RAB 669T identified as Damascene Jambo, 45, and one Angelique Umulisa, 35, the alleged owner of the minerals, were also arrested in the process.
Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson of the Western region, said that the taxi was intercepted at about 11pm as the suspected smugglers were en route to Rubavu town.
“Earlier that evening, security organs in Rubavu District had received information from residents about consignments of minerals that had been sneaked into Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through a porous border, and kept in a house located in Kanembwe Village of Busigari Cell in Cyanzarwe Sector,” CIP Karekezi said.
He added: “The house was put under surveillance until the suspected rightful owner—Angelique Umulisa—arrived with a taxi she had hired, and loaded the minerals which were concealed in five sacks, into the vehicle. Umulisa was arrested alongside her driver, shortly after taking off as they headed to Gisenyi town. The taxi, minerals and suspects were handed over to Gisenyi RIB station, for further management.”
Following their arrest, Umulisa, who is said to have been engaged in this unlawful mineral business for a while now, stated that she had 150kgs of tourmaline. However, after measuring, it came to light that the five sacks weighed 250kgs.
CIP Karekezi thanked the residents, who provided the credible information which facilitated the successful operation.
“There are increased successful operations against smugglers and drug traffickers largely because of the ownership and responsiveness of the people, who provide information,” said the spokesperson.
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 one million Rwandan francs (FRW 1,000,000) and not more than five million Rwandan francs (FRW 5,000,000) 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.