The New Times (Kigali)

28 December 2012

Rwanda: 12 Arrested in Anti-Drugs Crackdown

Gisagara — TWELVE people were on Thursday arrested in Gisagara district during a dawn operation which was part of a nationwide campaign against narcotics and illicit brew, Police has said.

The operation, carried out by Police in conjunction with the military, particularly combed homes in Rwanza cell, Save sector in Gisagara district.

During the crackdown, Police seized 2,000 litres of locally brewed illicit beer known in the area as Nyirantare.

The highly dangerous local gin is produced using several ingredients, including water, sugar, sorghum and yeast, which are blended with other crude materials like bricks, sources allege.

Up to 100 grammes of cannabis and 70 kilogrammes of palm oil were also recovered during the operation.

Rwanda has temporarily banned the importation of palm oil from some neighbouring countries over growing allegations that the quality of the products is below the accepted standards and that they may cause harm to human life.

But since the ban was imposed some individuals have been smuggling palm oil into the country.

Supt .Hubert Gashagaza, Police Spokesperson in the Southern region, said police had put in place measures and strategies to combat the trade and use of illicit drugs.

According to Supt. Gashagaza, drug consumption is among the major causes of crime in the Southern Province.

Physical assault is the most common crime which results from drug consumption, he said.

"The more we intensify the campaign against illicit drugs, the more we limit crimes," he said.

Article 594 of the Penal Code stipulates that any person who consumes, injects, inhales, anoints themselves with or makes any other unlawful use of narcotic drugs, is liable to a term of imprisonment of one year to three years and a fine ranging from Rwf50, 000 to Rwf500, 000.

However, any person who unlawfully makes, transforms, imports, or sells narcotic drugs within the country, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of three years to five years and a fine of Rwf500, 000 to Rwf5 million.

If the acts are committed internationally, the penalties are doubled, according to the same article.

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