Barnard Kobus , a South African farmer in Free State Province lost his Toyota Land Cruiser truck in August 2012. He was in a prayer room with a friend when unknown people came and took away two of the cars that were parked outside, including his.
Five years later, Kobus received a call from the South African Police informing him that his car had been intercepted, in Rwanda.
“When I received a call, I was so happy. I had given up on my car but the police didn’t give up. They did their job very well and I hope my friend’s car will eventually be found as well,” he told The New Times, shortly after being handed the car key to his vehicle at Rwanda Police headquarters in Kacyiru.
He added: “I am a bit sad that it is old but I was very sad when I lost it. I am now happy the police found it and now I know insurance will help me revamp it.”
Kobus’s car is among the three vehicles stolen from South Africa, intercepted in Rwanda and handed back to rightful owners by Rwanda National Police, yesterday.
Since Rwanda adopted the International Police Organization’s – Interpol – I-24/7 communication system two years ago, 38 vehicles—with the last interception happening on Tuesday morning at Akanyaru Border stolen all the way from Mexico –have been recovered, according to police.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Peter Karake, the Commissioner for Interpol says that the system has fundamentally changed the way the global law enforcement community works jointly to battle such sophisticated transnational crimes.
“The system gives us access to several criminal databases globally, mainly for stolen motor vehicles, wanted persons and stolen and lost travel documents among others,” Karake said.
Capt. Francois Conradie from the South African Police told The New Times that I-24/7 communication system is huge boost for security operatives in combating transnational crimes.
“This technology is of a very high standard. unfortunately, technology is not always our friend because criminals are always inventing new ways to counter one that is in place but with such collaboration we have seen with Rwanda National Police, we can definitely end transnational crimes,” Conradie said.
Karake said that the system has been installed in all the 13 entry points into the country including Kigali International Airport—and it has played a key role in curbing the number of cross-border and transnational crimes transiting Rwanda.
“Most of the vehicles we intercepted are those transiting our country because of the number plates. Some are going to DR Congo, Burundi, Uganda or Kenya. Very few vehicles are destined for Rwanda. But for the sake of international corporation, we have to act and that is what we agreed to fight cross-border and transnational crimes.
“Mostly we get these vehicles from drivers who are oblivious to the crime because initial sellers are difficult to catch. We are slowly but surely combating transnational crimes and we ask the public to be vigilant about such crimes” Karake added.
Besides Kobus’s truck, two other cars; a Range Rover Sport and a Toyota Fortuner were handed over to South African owners.
The Fortuner was handed to its owner, South African national Peter Cawood while the Range Rover was collected by the South African police on behalf of the owner.