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5 guards arrested over attempting to shoot at minister Nyamutoro

Minister Nyamutoro addressing the consultative meeting yesterday

Minister Nyamutoro addressing the consultative meeting yesterday

Five private security guards have been arrested for allegedly attempting to shoot at the state minister for Mineral Development, Phiona Nyamutoro.

The minister was accompanied by Agnes Alaba, the acting commissioner for mines and minerals to inspect iron ore mineral fields in Butare, Rubanda district belonging to National Cement Company Limited, a subsidiary of the Devki Group of companies. The incident happened today Thursday at Butare, Katojo town council.

Officials spent the whole of yesterday Wednesday in a consultative meeting with miners from Kigezi region at White Horse Inn Kabale in Kabale district discussing the ongoing biometric registration of artisanal miners across the country.   

However, on arriving at the mining fields today Thursday, the officials were treated to a cold welcome by four private security guards who were guarding the fields. The guards blocked officials from accessing the mineral fields to the extent of cocking their guns ready to shoot.

Nyamutoro's bodyguards and the police quickly moved in to disarm and arrest the guards before they would harm their principals. When contacted, Alaba confirmed the development saying that all officials are safe. She however declined to add more and referred our reporter to the ministry's communication officer for details.  

Nyamutooro wondered how the security guards could attempt to shoot at them yet the mining activity they are guarding is illegal. She was also seen ordering for immediate closure of the mineral fields until further notice. 

"We're going to come back to ensure that the equipment has been moved away and mining has been closed in all the areas that National Cement is currently illegally carrying out mining. We're not seated, we're going to move around. We're going to arrest whoever is culpable and we're going to stop mining with immediate effect wherever we find it being carried out when it is not licensed by government, and especially, when it is infringing on other people's licences that are supposed to be carrying out work," said Nyamutoro.

Elly Maate police spokesperson for Kigezi region said the security guards are currently being held at Rubanda police station as investigations into the matter continue. Maate also says that the security guards were armed with three submachine guns (SMGs).

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