Rwanda : Gicumbi Liquor smuggling dens busted
Smugglers and their loot
Police have uncovered dens where smugglers of liquor from the neigbouring Uganda have been doing their business.
One of the houses is found in Kabuga Cell, Mukura Sector in Gicumbi District. About 250 bottles of various types of liquor were found here.
The smugglers named Francine Murerwa, 32, Chantal Uwamariya and Violette Ugirumurera both 34, are currently held at Byumba Police Station.
According to Police, they were arrested at about 10:30pm after being found in possession with the smuggled goods, which included over 200 bottles of Africa Gin, sneaked into the country from Uganda through illegal entries.
Supt francis Gahima, the Gicumbi District Police Commander (DPC), who confirmed the arrest, said the trio, who were headed to Kigali, had travelled in a transit vehicle to beat security along the Gatuna-Kigali highway.
“They were traveling in a transit vehicle, but it got involved in an accident along the way. When we arrived at the accident scene, out of suspicion, we checked their luggage and discovered the liquor,” said Supt Gahima.
According to Gahima, smugglers have some specific places in Gicumbi where they sit and send some people to bring them goods – one-by-one – through illegal borders, until they get the required amount of the merchandise they need.
The smugglers are also said to be conniving with drivers of heavy trucks to transport them as well as their goods to Kigali.
“Just like it has been the case of fighting other crimes such as drug abuse, we have also devised new strategies in partnership with the community and our Ugandan counterparts to ensure border security including combating smuggling,” he explained.
“We have had meetings with our counterparts in Uganda and there are agreements signed by Rwanda National Police (RNP) and the Uganda police to cooperate in fighting crimes, and this has contributed much in combating crimes,” said Supt Ndoli.
In August, Rwanda and Uganda police forces agreed to conduct joint operations at all border entries linking the two East African states to stamp-out security challenges.
Regional police Commanders (RPCs) from the Northern and Eastern Provinces in Rwanda and those of the South and South West on the Ugandan side were tasked to identify “all unnamed entry points” which will see police posts and other infrastructures erected at these points.
Rwanda National Police also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rwanda Revenue Authority (RAA) recently to formalize the existing partnership and streamline cooperation in fighting fraud, which is facilitated by the porous borders.
The agreement will see RNP help the tax body in preventing, detecting and investigating cases related to combating tax evasion and smuggling among others.
Rwanda National Police currently has a unit – Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) –to combat fraud.