Police forces from ten regional countries are set to meet in Victoria, Seychelles next week to review the recently concluded operation code-named “Usalama 1” targeting cross-border crimes and lay new strategies to combat trans-national organised crime.
Usalama, a swahili word meaning ‘safety’ was conducted simultaneously in the ten Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) partner states in May this year.
The countries are Burundi, Eretria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Seychelles, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.
It targeted a wide range of trans-national crimes such as human and drug trafficking, motor-vehicle theft, smuggling of minerals and trafficking of small arms and light weapons.
Chief Supt. Jean Nepo Mbonyumuvunyi, the Director of Interpol in Rwanda National Police said the ‘After Action Review’ meeting to be held between July 25, and 26, will assess the success of Usalama 1 and further strategies for future actions.
“Dealing with crimes in this modern era requires cooperation with other law enforcement agencies to ensure safety of our people and curb the sale of illicit drugs and weapons,” said CSP Mbonyumuvunyi.
Though the two-day Usalama 1 operation ended on a good note in Rwanda with only one person arrested after he was intercepted with 20kg of smuggled tin, CSP Mbonyumuvunyi says: “It’s important to move ahead of criminals.”
“Rwanda is used as a transit centre especially of stolen vehicles, trafficking in persons but because of the good cooperation and timely communication with regional and international forces, most of the stolen goods are recovered and suspects arrested,” he noted.
The Interpol National Police Bureau –Kigali has intercepted about 15 vehicles stolen from neighbouring countries in the last three years, which have since been handed over to the owners by police in countries where they were stolen, he explained.
He also said seven victims of human trafficking, all girls including four Rwandans were rescued in the last two years in partnership with NCB-Kampala.
“Two Ugandan girls were intercepted at Kigali international Airport en route to United Arab Emirates and three people in connection with the trafficking were arrested and handed over to Interpol in Uganda,” CSP Mbonyumuvunyi said.