KIGALI - Organisations of regional police chiefs in Africa have agreed to carry out joint operations on crime management.
The decision was reached during the Africa Regional Police Chiefs’ Organisations (RPCO)’ meeting which ended yesterday in Kigali.
The two-day meeting brought together regional police bodies including; Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO), Central African Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (CAPCCO), Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation Organisation (SARPCCO), West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
It was was held under the theme; “Fight Against The Illicit Accumulation and Trafficking of Firearms and Explosive Materials in Africa”.
According to the resolutions of the meeting, the police bodies agreed to conduct two joint operations this year. The first operation will be carried out in SARPCCO in October this year while the second would be carried out in EAPCCO/ CAPCCO will be conducted between October and November.
The police bodies also agreed to prioritise harmonisation of training modules and undertake training of trainers across the regions on an elaborate curriculum on stockpile management.
Other resolutions included the establishment of a continental coordination mechanism at the African Union Commission to coordinate the action of RPCOs and enhance coordination with the international police body, Interpol.
While officially closing the ceremony, Tharcisse Karugarama, the Minister of Justice, urged the organisations to establish focal points in order to effectively fight illicit accumulation and trafficking of firearms and explosive materials in Africa.
He noted that the meeting would see the destruction of a large number of surplus weapons, marking of legally owned firearms and enact laws related to arms, establishment of database record keeping and national focal points on small arms and light weapons.
“This calls for continued network among African law enforcement agencies to safeguard lives and property and foster the socio-economic growth of countries.
The existence of challenges faced by our law enforcement agencies that include the nature of our porous borders…and the fact that these weapons are easily accessible underscores the need for cooperation and networking towards the fight against proliferation of illicit SALW,” said Karugarama.
He pledged Rwanda’s continued support in the fight against illicit arms.
“Small arms in the hands of the right guys; it is an instrument of peace, security, law enforcement, but in the hands of gangsters, it’s an instrument of terror and coercion,” explained Karugarama.
The meeting called for the implementation of all relevant national, regional and international instruments on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW).
Rwanda is the only country that implemented all the protocols, including the Nairobi protocol and the UN programme of action to preventing and combating the trade of illicit small arms and light weapons.
Over 32,000 illicit small arms have been destroyed in Rwanda since 2003.