Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr. Edouard Ngirente has said that there is need for stronger cooperation among law enforcement agencies in Africa if the increasing threats to continental development are to be addressed.
The Prime Minister made the remarks on February 5, while officially opening the three-day 24th Interpol African Region Conference in Kigali.
About 300 participants from across the continent including Chiefs of Police as well as Interpol secretariat are taking part in the conference that seeks to discuss ways of tackling specific security threats affecting the African continent.
Notably among the threats on the table of discussion include illicit trafficking of drugs and pharmaceutical, terrorism and maritime piracy, trafficking in human beings, child exploitation, financial crimes and corruption.
The Premier said that the conference is the right forum to discuss such continental security concerns, share experiences and discuss joint strategies to address the common threat.
The recent terror attacks on innocent civilians in Somalia, Kenya, Mali and Nigeria, he said, are lively examples that call for comprehensive strategies to confront the same enemy.
“These threats undermine the development of Africa and a violation of human rights. Human trafficking deprives thousands of people in Africa and elsewhere in the world of their fundamental freedoms; illicit financial flows out of Africa cause significant threats to the developmental agenda of the continent,” Premier Ngirente said.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates that illicit flows from Africa amount to US$50 billion every year.
“No single country can win this struggle; we need stronger regional and international cooperation… by working together with clear lines of communication and capable Police forces we shall overcome these challenges,” the Prime Minister said.
He commended Interpol for its outstanding cooperation with Rwanda and its commitment to make Africa in particular a safer place, and reiterated Rwanda’s commitment to supporting the international peace and security processes.
The 24th continental conference follows the 84th Interpol General Assembly also held in Rwanda in November 2015
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dan Munyuza observed that the nature and modalities of crime are constantly shifting, especially with regards to internet and other technological advancements.
“The fact is that modern criminality has networks that transcend national jurisdictions. This means that, the only alternative is to enhance collaboration by having well-trained and equipped Police officers and other law enforcement agencies prepared to effectively confront these emerging and ever sophisticated crimes,” IGP Munyuza said.
On the sidelines of the conference is also the Table Top Exercise (TTX) CYBER TRACKS II, which brings together law enforcement officers from Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation (EAPCCO) geared towards enhancing their knowledge and skills in prevention and response to hi-tech crimes.
The Exercise attended by participants from the 14 EAPCCO member states is held under the theme: “Cyber Tracks, terrorists’ activities through a multidisciplinary approach to Prevent, Detect and Investigate Terrorism.”
The Secretary General of Interpol, Jurgen Stock emphasized the “common factor of information exchange.”
“The momentum of terrorist-related data sharing across Africa via INTERPOL is unprecedented and we will continue to build on the successes of recent operations targeting human and drug trafficking,” said Stock.
In March last year, Interpol launched an initiative—I-ONE—to strengthen Africa’s global law enforcement role by improving its ability to share and receive police information in the four Africa regional police organizations: Central Africa (CAPCCO), Eastern Africa (EAPCCO), Southern Africa (SARPCCO) and West Africa (WAPCCO).
The Interpol Chief thanked Government of Rwanda for hosting the conference adding that the country “exhibits hope and renewal as one of the safest countries across the globe.”