Members of the International Police Criminal Organisation commonly known as Interpol from 17 African countries are meeting in Kigali to negotiate a joint agreement to deal with the rise in cross border crimes.
The two-day meeting, which ends today, brought together heads of Interpol’s national and regional bureaus.
Isabelle Kalihangabo, the Deputy Secretary General of Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), highlighted that the need to fast-track the process of joint cooperation agreement is informed by the increasing level of cross border crimes.
“In the recent years, transnational crimes have been increasing and are organised in sophisticated ways. Therefore, handling them, calls for change of our mindsets, approach and high level cross-border cooperation,” she said.
The agreement, she added, could enhance cooperation through exchange of information, joint cooperation, extradition and mutual legal assistance.
“If done efficiently, I have no doubt that it will help us preserve peace and stability in our respective countries,” Kalihangabo said.
The participants are from Kenya, Comoros, Cameroon, Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia. Others are from Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, Djibouti, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania.
Kalihangabo highlighted that experience has shown them that transnational crimes and threats cannot be treated in isolation and that no country or law enforcement agency can claim to combat transnational crimes alone.
She pointed out that world over criminals increasingly cross borders, challenging law enforcers who are subjected to the respect of laws, borders and state sovereignty.
This, therefore, calls for joint cooperation to combat the increasing rate of crimes.
Gideon Kimilu, the Head of Interpol Regional Bureau in Nairobi, said they were expecting enhanced cooperation from the review and negotiation process, which would strengthen the working environment between Central African and East African regions.
“The purpose of this meeting or what we expect from this process is enhanced cooperation between the Central African region and the East African region where police officers and other law enforcement agencies can carry out joint simultaneous operations,” he said.
Kimilu added that once the signing is completed, the regions would also establish joint training exercises, enhance the sharing of information and have joint capacity building where officers from the two regions can be trained together.
“Once you train together, you form bonds and it makes it easier for you to carry out operations when the real crimes happen,” he noted.
The cooperation agreement is expected to be signed in Arusha, Tanzania next month once countries have agreed on all aspects of the agreement.
Members of Interpol who are gathering in Kigali believe that security is prerequisite for development and wellbeing of the people, but that achieving it required law enforcement agencies to collectively work together.
The officials are from Kenya, Comoros, Cameroon, Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia. Others are from Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, Djibouti, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania.