Thirty-six Police officers, on Monday, completed a 'comprehensive maritime operations course' as Rwanda National Police (RNP) continues to build its marine unit to tighten security in the country’s water bodies.
Six of the course participants were trained as trainers.
The pass-out of this intake, the second of its nature, was held on the shores of Lake Kivu in Rubavu District and presided over by the Commissioner for Operations and Public Order, Commissioner of Police (CP) George Rumanzi, who represented the RNP leadership.
The eight-week specialized course was conducted in partnership with Kenya National Police Service.
Rumanzi said that such career courses prepare law enforcement officers to readily confront complex policing and security threats.
"Marine courses were initiated and designed mainly to equip unit officers with essential skills and tactics to effectively tackle and deter crimes committed on water bodies," Rumanzi said.
During the eight weeks, participants drawn from various marine unit stations in the country covered various subjects including; maritime law enforcement, life-saving and water survival skills, seamanship skills and boat engine mechanical and maintenance, among others.
Rumanzi said that RNP considers capacity building through training as "top priority in law enforcement professionalization programs."
He urged the trained marine officers to "close gaps in maritime operations," adding that "RNP will continue to provide necessary means, ways, and resources to enhance policing skills of its officers at all levels."
Rumanzi also commended the existing partnership between Rwanda and Kenya police institutions especially in training of officers in the two countries, in various policing disciplines.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Elias Mwesigye, Marine Unit Commanding Officer (CO), said that before these courses were introduced, the unit lacked required maritime security skills.
"Maritime knowledge, skills, profession-related jargon and the morale of marine officers has increased, and this has strengthened our professional operations against crimes committed on water bodies," ACP Mwesigye said.
He identified illegal fishing, use of substandard fishing nets and boats, smuggling and drug trafficking as some of the crimes committed especially in Lake Kivu.
The CO Marine added that such training coupled with the acquisition of more and modern marine equipment will significantly facilitate in addressing these challenges.