9 January 2018

Rwanda: Police Intercept Vehicle Loaded With 4320 Bottles of Illicit Brew

Police in Gatsibo District has intercepted a vehicle loaded with locally made illicit brew called 'Somawumve,' packed in at least 4320 bottles.

The vehicle, a Dyna, RAD 256F, was intercepted at a roadblock in Nyagahanga, Police said.

"The vehicle was headed to Gatsibo from Rwamagana, and it was intercepted along the way following information provided by the people. It was impounded at Gatsibo Police station while the illicit substances were disposed of," said Chief Inspector of Police Theobard Kanamugire, the Police spokesperson for the Eastern region, said.

This comes at a time when various entities are actively engaged in raising awareness against illicit drugs and when there is an ongoing joint operations by Rwanda National Police and Rwanda Standards Bureau (RSB), specifically on illegal distilleries.

CIP Kanamugire warned of "continuous operations against illegal distilleries and dealers" but hastened to add that the "strong collaboration" with the public through information sharing is a major tool for successful response.

At least 45 illegal distilleries have been closed in Eastern Province alone.

"There are some unlicensed distilleries, some of them using deadly raw materials, operating in unhygienic places and packaging in dirty containers," CIP Kanamugire said.

It is said that only 20 per cent of 104 distilleries in the Eastern region are licensed, according to Rwanda Standards Bureau (RBS).

Close to 80 illegal distillers had been closed by the end of last year across the country in the ongoing joint operation.

RBS specifies that "only food grade processing aids recognised as safe for human consumption shall be used during the manufacture."

Other standard requirements include labeling, which is also a prerequisite; the name of the products, physical and postal address of manufacturer; net contents in milliliters or litres; ethyl alcohol content; date of manufacture and expiry date; storage instruction; statutory warnings; and list of ingredients in descending order.

However, some distillers allegedly use mixed sugarcane residues, bricks, sugar, tea, water and other substances said to be harmful to consumers.

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