Police has appealed to members of the public to avoid engaging into illegal mining. That, according to the Police is to prevent possible risks including injuries and loss of life.
The call for caution was made following a recent case where one person died on Tuesday August 14, this month while illegally mining in COEMIKA mining site, which is in Rwishywa village, Kamonyi District.
According to Southern Region Police Spokesperson, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Emmanuel Kayigi, four persons went to COEMIKA to illegally mine at night. One of them, identified as Leandre Nsabimana, 36 was killed and buried by falling debris. CIP Kayigi further said three more persons, Emile Shema, 21, Cyrille Twagirumukiza, 20, and another one only identified as Nteziryayo, 47, were seriously injured as they were trying to get out of the mine.
CIP Kayigi said that illegal mining puts those involved at risk, especially noting that some of the parts of mining concessions may have been abandoned and so are at high risk of caving-in if there is sudden activity. He went reminded the public that it is against the law to practice mining without a license, or to enter a concession without the requisite protective gear.
“Mining is not something that is practiced by anyone; it requires skills and knowledge and that is why it is a profession that requires a license to the practitioners. Illegal mining normally results in such incidents,” the spokesman said.
He appealed to residents to avail timely information on people suspected to be involved in these unlawful activities, something that is likely to prevent unnecessary loss of lives while combating illegal mining. Among other ills of illicit mining, as he pointed out, is negative impacting on the country’s economy through lost tax revenues.
Kayigi stressed it upon residents, particularly the youth, to avoid engaging in all types of illegal businesses but instead, as an example, form co-operatives and find ways of securing small loans for small income generating businesses.
Illegal mining is punishable under article 438 of the Rwandan Penal Code, which punishable by a jail term of one year in prison and a fine between Frw 3 million and 10 million.