11 December 2012

Rwanda: Police Impounds Truck-Full of Cattle Over Defying Quarantine Directive

Rwamagana — Police in Rwamagana have impounded a truck full of cattle being from Kayonza district enroute Kigali yesterday.

The Ministry of Agriculture imposed a quarantine in the districts of Kirehe, Gatsibo, Nyagatare and Kayonza after an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease.

The owner of the cattle, Protais Ruhimbana, was arrested at mid-night in Musha sector, 30 kilometers from Kigali City, where he was going to sell the animals.

According to Supt Benoit Nsengiyumva, the spokesman and judicial police officer in Eastern Province, Ruhimbana violated a Ministerial Decree.

He said that the suspect also faces a penalty for spreading contagious diseases as stipulated in the law. "The law is clear...any person who causes the spreading of contagious diseases of domestic animals, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than one month, and a fine of Rwf 100,000 to 1million or one of these penalties," he said.

Ruhimbana, told The New Times that he had expected to make good money.

"I was going to sell the animals for Rwf 5.4 million...I knew it was illegal, but was motivated by huge profits. You know due to the quarantine, cows sell like hot cakes nowadays in Kigali," he said.

The 21 animals were being transported from Buhabwa village in Murundi sector, an area where the first case of foot and mouth disease was reported.

Isidore Gafarasi, the director in charge of animal health at Rwanda Agricultural Board, stressed that the illegal movements of cattle from areas already under quarantine, must stop.

He said that laws punishing culprits must be implemented without fear or favor for the benefit of the society.

"These people are doing the country a great disservice...I mean how do you dare move animals from an area blacklisted as foot and mouth spot."

Meanwhile, farmers in Rwamagana are griped with fear that their animals may soon be infected. They complained that the law is too soft, to deter illegal movement of cattle.

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