Cross border crimes in Eastern and Central Africa, have increased in sophistication and organization in the last decade largely due to porous borders and weak controls.
With the rise of terrorism and the expansion of international criminal organizations in Africa, problems created by transnational crimes have gone from a simple law-enforcement issue to national and international security concerns.
It is in this context that the International Police Criminal Organization (INTERPOL) representative for the Eastern (EAPCCO) and Central African (CAPCCO) regions, were in Kigali for a two days meeting on how to deal with the growing threat of transnational crimes.
The meeting which ended on August 22, agreed on legal frameworks and strong cooperation in combating transnational crimes.
The main guest of the meeting, the Rwanda Investigation Bureau’s Deputy Secretary General, Isabelle Kalihangabo, explained that criminals do not respect borders, and that they exploit loopholes in local law enforcement infrutracture to evade capture.
She emphasized the importance of cooperation. “Experience has shown that transnational crime threats cannot be treated in isolation. In fact, no country, no law enforcement agency can claim to be able to combat transnational crime alone.”
The cooperation agreement, which was approved by all parties after two days of deliberation; is expected, once ratified, to enhance cooperation through exchange of information, joint cooperation, extradition and mutual legal assistance.
The ratification is expected in Tanzania next month for the EAPCCO member states, and in November 2019 in Gabon for the CAPCCO member states.
Both Gideon Kimilu, the Head of Interpol Regional Bureau in Nairobi, and his counterpart from the Yaoundé Regional Bureau, Michel Koua lauded members representing the two regions for the fruitful deliberations in ensuring security and the safety of people in both regions.
Kimilu added that once the signing is completed, the regions would also establish joint training exercises, enhance the sharing of information and have joint capacity building where officers from the two regions can be trained together.
“The purpose of this meeting or what we expect from this process is enhanced cooperation between the Central African region and the East African region where police officers and other law enforcement agencies can carry out joint simultaneous operations,”
Participants came from Kenya, Comoros, Cameroon, Sudan, South Sudan, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Ethiopia. Others were from Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, Djibouti, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania.