Eastern Province and military officials have issued last warning to people doing illegal mining activities in the Gabiro Combat Training Centre.
Located in districts of Gatsibo, Nyagatare and Kayonza, the military domain is often invaded by people grazing their cattle, burning charcoal, and this time, excavating its land seeking minerals.
On Tuesday, the officials met residents in Rwimbogo Sector, Gatsibo District, which neighbours the military land.
“This is a centre for military training,” said Maj. Gen. Mubarak Muganga, RDF Commander in Eastern Province and City of Kigali, who also added that holes dug by the illegal miners is an impediment for the military training, even with some soldiers likely to get injuries.
The general urged wives of the men doing such crimes to advise their husbands to stop risking their own lives and those of their families.
When caught, some illegal miners show readiness to fight, using traditional materials like machetes against army members who try to stop them.
It was even identified that they establish ways of cooking and dig pit latrines, with apparent intention of staying there for a long time.
Governor Fred Mufulukye declared that they have met the residents multiple times trying to warn them, but that they should understand that it is for their own good.
He announced that the number of soldiers keeping the security of the land is going to increase, but in any case, that was not necessary: “We came to implore you for the last time, could you please be law abiding citizens who listen to their leaders and laws of the country?”
Governor claimed that in this era, no Rwandan should reward people who transformed Rwanda into one of the safest countries in the world, by being an impediment to their training.
Hubert Rutaro, the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) commander in Eastern Province, described the act of doing civilian activities in military domain as suicide, due to constant military training that take place there.
Legally, moreover, laws stipulates tough punishments against those trespassing prohibited land, harming protected animals or plants.
Rutaro explained that a certain place to become for mining requires researches approving it, and people being permitted to do the mining activities there.
“The law does not only punish the person doing the illegal mining, but even someone doing research on a place, trying to know that a certain place has mines, gets the same punishments as the one excavating the minerals,” he announced.
Even tough punishments awaits those buying minerals from the illegal miners too, according to RIB officer.
Patrick Bagiruwubusa, resident in Rwikiniro cell, Rwimbogo Sector, told The New Time, “People who go to Gabiro are employed by wealthy people on the outside, they use them.”
He suggests that the “bosses” who send illegal miners into the military zone should be hunted, and brought down in order to end the invading issue.
“However, the problem of those grazing their cattle in the military domain is related to poor mindset, the leaders never stop, but such people never understand,” he added.
Bagiruwubusa insists that the leadership should keep teaching until those with poor mindset someday realise that they were in wrong way.