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Burera sees decline in smuggling, drugs-Mayor Mukamana

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Burera District has witnessed a decrease in smuggling and other border-related cases following the establishment of porous border guards or ‘Imboni z’umutekano’, officials have announced.

According to the Mayor of Burera, Soline Mukamana, there are about 550 porous border guards within sectors near the Rwanda-Uganda border who, on a daily basis, work closely with security organs and local authorities to detect border-related crimes.

Porous border guards help in combating illegal crossing, smuggling, drug abuse, and ‘Kanyanga’. For the past decades before it was banned as an illegal beverage, cases were high.

Speaking to The New Times, Mayor Mukamana disclosed that the initiative followed President Paul Kagame’s comment on why the district remains behind in district performance contracts or ‘imihigo’.

For the 2021-2022 fiscal year, Burera District took last position with 61.79 per cent. By then, Kagame linked the poor performance to illicit alcohol.

Currently, according to Mayor Mukamana, cases have significantly decreased following the initiative which is proving good results in combating insecurity-related cases.

She said: “They help us mobilise our population that they should not cross the border illegally, get rid of smuggling and other related insecurity cases. And it is bearing fruits.”

The decline is also observed by SP Jean Bosco Mwiseneza, the police spokesperson for the northern region, where he assures that porous border guards are contributing to combating border-related cases.

“They’re doing a great job in detecting smugglers, drug traffickers and people who illegally attempt to cross the border,” he stated.

“Border residents should understand that illegal crossing is prohibited and it increases poverty because when goods are confiscated, they get auctioned.”

Burera residents, who spoke to The New Times, like Anamalia Mukasine of Mubuga Cell, Butaro Sector, tell the same story.

“Illegal border crossing has decreased; people no longer do that following tough measures established. There are community-based projects and job opportunities like VUP [Vision 2020 Umurenge Program] for those who used to cross into Uganda,” she added.

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