The three-day 18th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) ended yesterday with delegates taking a tough stance to deepen cooperation to effectively counter cross-border crime.
Yesterday’s 16th Council of Ministers issued a 12-resolution communiqué that rotated mainly around strengthening cooperation between police forces in addressing security related challenges.
Speaking at the closure of the Council of Ministers’ meeting, the Minister for Internal Security Sheikh Musa Fazil Harerimana, pointed out that the 21st century security challenges are different from those faced by previous generations, noting that today’s criminals have embraced modern technologies to commit crimes and to evade justice.
He pointed out that the use of internet by terrorist organisations to radicalise and recruit the youth into jihadist movements, luring young people into human trafficking, and financial fraud in which criminals intercept and steal huge amount of money from unsuspecting victims, are just a few examples of the challenges the world is facing today.
“The only appropriate response to cyber-enabled transnational crimes is deepening police cooperation across the borders; it is enhancing mutual support and building capacities of our police forces, especially through promoting IT-led policing,” said the minister.
During the same meeting, minister Harerimana took over from his Kenyan counterpart Joseph Nkaissery, as the new chair of the Council of Ministers of EAPCCO, which brings together 13 regional countries.
In the joint communiqué of the Council of Ministers, they affirmed their support in the implementation of the resolutions of the 18th EAPCCO AGM of Chiefs of Police and affirmed the need for a unified approach against the threats of human trafficking and to develop regional initiative at the highest level, and cooperate and share strategies against the vices.
The ministers further noted the challenges faced by member countries in handling stolen motor vehicles across national borders and encouraged member countries to engage bilaterally in order to stem the problem.
Uganda and Ethiopia were endorsed as the hosts of the 19th and 20th EAPCCO AGMs, respectively, while the former will also host the second retreat of the Chiefs of Police.
The resolutions of the Council of Ministers partly took note of the support got from Interpol’s policing capabilities to tackle emerging crime threats including Cyber Crime and Cyber enabled crimes.
In line with African Union Summit’s decision for EAPCCO member countries to support a single candidature for INTERPOL President, Inspector General of Namibia, Lt. Gen. Sebastian Ndeitunga, was endorsed as the sole candidate.
The ministers appreciated Rwanda for hosting the All-Africa Table Top Exercise on Cybercrime under the codenamed; “Cyber Tracks.”
The Secretary General of Interpol, Dr Jurgen Stock said, “The Eastern Africa is a region of great importance to Interpol. We are proud of the work that has been done by EAPCCO in capacity building and operations. The team in the regional bureau in Nairobi, Kenya has continued to respond to the needs of Police in Eastern Africa on subjects ranging from combating ivory trafficking and forestry crime to tracking fugitives”
The Regional Bureau of Interpol in Nairobi serves as the secretariat of EAPCCO.
Dr Stock went on to say that law enforcement in Eastern Africa is keeping pace using smart policing at harnessing ICT, social media and mobile applications to improve community relations and service provision.
“However, it is essential that we adopt and innovate in order to best serve law enforcement and protect public,” he said
Prior to the Council of Ministers and the Police Chiefs meetings, several technical meetings building up to the AGM were held.
Among those include the 13th meeting of Heads of Interpol National Central Bureaus (NCB), the Permanent Coordination Committee (PCC) that is comprised of heads of the Criminal Intelligence Departments, the subcommittees of legal affairs, training, gender and the counterterrorism working groups.