Thousands engage in campaign against illicit drugs in Gatsibo

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Thousands of residents of Gatsibo District including the majority youth, converged at the Teachers Training Centre in Kabarore Sector to witness the public destruction of varied contrabands of illicit substances and to participate in the mass campaign against drug abuse.

The exercise was also attended by the district Mayor, Richard Gasana and other local leaders, the DPC Supt. Eric Kabera and the Chief prosecutor of Nyagatare Intermediate court, Innocent Rukundo.

Among the destroyed narcotic drugs are 175 cartons of Zebra waragi and over 100 litres of Kanyanga, both illicit gin banned in Rwanda, and cannabis. The illicit substances were seized from sellers and users in the last three months.

The exercise was also attended by over 360 students, who completed senior six and currently attending civic education training – Itorero – in Kabarore.

Mayor Gasana commended the existing partnership between Police and residents, but added that the remaining gap continues to give way for drug dealers to continue with their unlawful business that leaves the youth as majority vulnerable.

“If your children are not victims it’s those of your neighbor and friend. We have seen children abandoning schools as addicts; some families are breaking up because one of the spouses spends family income on illicit drinks while women are assaulted by their husbands under the influence of these narcotic substances,” Gasana said.

“But the good thing is that the dealers could also be your neighbor, friend or even you have knowledge of who they are and where they are operating. By reporting them to police, you will be fighting theft, gender based violence and conflict, and promoting safety and security in the community,” he added.

Kabera thanked the residents for providing information that led to the seizure of the destroyed illicit substances, and arrest of individuals involved.

He urged them to be active agents of community policing in their communities by providing timely information on wrongdoers and suspicious people, tighten Irondo (night patrols) noting that most drug dealers hide under darkness to traffic narcotics like cannabis.

Prosecutor Rukundo took the residents through the laws that prohibit and punish drug dealers, abusers and even those who induce others like children to inhale the drugs.

Use and sell of illicit drugs are punishable under articles 594, 595 and 596 of the Rwanda penal code.

Making, selling and use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances attracts a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to Rwf5 million under article 594 of the penal code.

Facilitating another person to use drugs attracts a penalty of up to three years in prison and a fine of Rwf500, 000 to Rwf5 million under article 595 while under article 596, inducing a child to use narcotic drugs is punishable with an imprisonment of between five and seven years.

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