Police arrest eight over petrol station robberies
Rwanda National Police (RNP) has arrested eight people said to be behind series of robberies that targeted mainly petrol stations in different parts of the country.
At least eleven petrol stations were robbed of over Rwf10 million, combined, in the eight districts of Bugesera, Muhanga, Musanze, Kamonyi, Ngororero, Rubavu, Rutsiro and Karongi.
The robberies were carried out between July and September, during which six laptops and eight smartphones were also stolen.
The eight suspects were shown to the media on Thursday, October 8, at Metropolitan Police Headquarters in Remera.
They are identified as Alfred Bikorimana alias Bucura, Jean-Eric Byukusenge, Emmanuel Habumuremyi; Marc Ishimwe alias Mike, Aimable Kwibuka alias Hamis, Faustin Muberuka alias Bihehe; Joseph Ndagijimana and Sosthene Ndahimana alias Niyomadago.
Ndahimana is the alleged ringleader and coordinator of the gang, said to be composed of 14 people in total who are already in custody.
He said that he joined the gang back in April and recalls nine robberies he successfully coordinated at nine different petrol stations.
He narrated that they normally attacked in a group of between four and six people armed with machetes, iron bars, sticks and stones.
“We usually observe and gather enough intelligence at the targeted petrol station, and security loopholes are almost similar; there is always one security guard, who is unarmed, and a pump attendant.”
He said that they normally strike after midnight, during which the pump attendant on duty is inside the same room where money is kept.
Ndagijimana, another suspected robber, confirmed Ndahimana's narrative, adding that members of the gang position themselves strategically with stones to fend off anyone who dares to intervene.
“We all live in different places. Niyomadago (Ndahimana) calls us the day before the attack and pays our transport fare. We all converge in the target town by 7pm, book a lodge where we stay until 1am when we attack, and by morning, we have dispersed and never talk to each other until there is a new heist.”
Francis Karera is the Business Development Manager of Mount Meru petroleum Rwanda and says their stations in Bugesera and Kamonyi were attacked by the same group.
“Thieves came to one of our stations, breached our safe, took all the money and destroyed many things including window glasses. At first, we thought our staff had given a hand in the incident, because we had never heard of such theft anywhere. We then reported the case to RIB (Rwanda Investigation Bureau).”
Karera added that just a few days after, their other station was robbed and similar robberies reported at petrol stations belonging to other companies; that is when they learned it as a ring of robbers behind it.
Mount Meru petrol station in Kamonyi District was robbed of Rwf1 million on August 23, while the same company’s station in Bugesera was robbed of Rwf900,000 and electronic gadgets.
On September 22, the gang allegedly attacked and robbed Sante Comfortable Petrol Station in Musanze District and took over Rwf2 million, a laptop and three handsets.
They had earlier on August 29, robbed Hashi Energy Petrol Station also in Musanze of Rwf600,000 and three computers.
Two similar robberies occurred in Muhanga District; on September 11, at Hass Petroleum Petrol station where Rwf2.5 million were stolen and earlier on September 3, at SP Petrol station where thieves stole Rwf6,500,000.
RNP spokesperson, CP John Bosco Kabera said the police will never tire from protecting the people and business from such dangerous people who decide to make money from criminal acts.
“These are young people, who could learn new skills or do something better...they should not be in these serious crimes. If they are convicted in court, the repercussions for this crime will not be worth it, at all. People should learn from such cases and choose legal paths of making money,” Kabera.
On conviction armed robbery attracts imprisonment of not less than fifteen (15) years and not more than twenty (20) years and a fine of not less than Rwf5 million and not more than Rwf7 million.