Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) on Thursday arrested 10 people for allegedly being behind the illegal mine that collapsed in Huye District leaving six victims including three students trapped in the tunnels.

Efforts to rescue the victims have been derailed by landslides caused by heavy rains.

RIB spokesperson, Thierry Murangira told The New Times that the investigation began on April 25.

ALSO READProbe launched into Huye mine accident, 6 still trapped underground.

Those arrested include Maj (rtd) Paul Katabarwa, Protais Maniraho, who used to be social affairs officer in Gahana Cell, Jacqueline Uwamariya, who is the Executive Secretary of Maraba Sector, Gilbert Nkurunziza, who was in charge of social affairs officer in Gahana Cell, and Eric Hakizimana, the village leader.

They also include Faustin Nshimiyimana, the leader of Gasaka Village, Liberata Iyakaremye, in charge of land in Gasaka, Mussa Uwimana, who was a miner, Emmanuel Ndacyayisenga, the miner, as well as Jean Matebuka, who was also miner.

According to Murangira, the detainees are suspected of three crimes namely involuntary homicide, abuse of their functions and power, and illegal mining.

“Primary investigation revealed that the crimes were committed since 2019. The crimes were discovered on April 19 when six people were trapped in the tunnels,” he said.

ALSO READHuye mine accident: Landslide derails rescue efforts.

He said the types of minerals that were being excavated are yet to be identified.

Those arrested are detained at Remera, Kicukiro and Kimironko RIB stations, he said.

“As the investigation continues, more crimes might be detected so that the case be submitted to prosecution,” he said.

Involuntary homicide is punished by article 111 of 2018 penal code.

If convicted, the suspects might face between six and two years in jail and between Rwf500,000 and Rwf2 million fines.

Abuse of their functions and power is punished with article 15 in the 2018 law on fighting corruption.

The suspects might face between seven and ten jail term terms and between Rwf5 million and Rwf10 million fines.

Illegal mining is punished by article 54 in the 2018 law governing mining and quarries

If convicted, the suspects will be jailed between two months and six months, and fines equivalent to between Rwf1 million and Rwf5 million.

At least 337 mine accidents were recorded from July 2018 to 2022.

ALSO READOver 100 illegal mines identified as accidents kill 429 in five years.

Of these, the report shows, 85 accidents happened in sites owned by companies that were operating illegally according to Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB) on the status of illegal mining and accidents.   The New Times