Nineteen bales and 200 kilogrammes of used clothes, commonly known as caguwa, were intercepted on Monday in two separate Police operations in Eastern Province, along the Rwanda-Tanzania border.
At least 19 bales were intercepted in Rusumo, Kirehe District, while 200kgs others were seized from smugglers in Nyagatare District, Chief Inspector of Police Theobard Kanamugire, the Police spokesperson for the Eastern region, said.
The seized second-hand clothes have since been handed over to Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) for further management, CIP Kanamugire added.
"The clothes seized in Kirehe were being smuggled through river Kagera; the smugglers managed to escape leaving the bales behind after seeing marines, who were on routine operations.
Rwanda National Police and Tanzania Police Forces, late last year, started joint operations in River Kagera against any illegal activities conducted within or through the waters.
"Smuggling is unlawful due to its impact on the economy and its likelihood to bring into the market hazardous goods, and that's why it's part of the day-to-day police operations," CIP Kanamugire said, warning of "appropriate consequences" to anyone that will be caught involved in such illegal acts.
Elsewhere, a woman was also arrested in Rubavu District at a border post with DR Congo, after she tried to bribe a police officer in order to facilitate her to smuggle clothes into the country.
Smuggling of second-hand clothes has relatively increased in the recent past following the increase in taxes levied on them, from $0.2 per cent to $2.5 per cent per kilogramme.
"Police has strengthened operations on major and strategic routes; that's why we have been able to arrest many smugglers, sometimes based on information we receive from the public, and seize smuggled goods," CIP Kanamugire said.