KIGALI, Rwanda – Terrorism and organized crime are the main issues being addressed at the INTERPOL African Regional Conference which was officially opened by Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente today.
The meeting comes just weeks after the terrorist attack in Nairobi which claimed 21 lives, following which an INTERPOL Incident Response Team (IRT) was deployed to provide on-site support to Kenyan authorities.
Criminal intelligence analysis, digital forensics, weapons and explosives experts within the IRT have provided assistance to Kenyan Police enabling them to exploit data and develop investigative leads.
Addressing the delegates, Prime Minister Ngirente said all continents are facing growing threats of organized crime and terrorism.
“These threats undermine the development of Africa but also constitute a violation of human rights.
“To stop and prevent these threats, there is an urgent need for strong cooperation. No single country can alone win this struggle. We need much stronger regional and international cooperation.
“I therefore urge all participants in this regional conference to use it as an opportunity to set up new strategies and enforce existing ones on how INTERPOL can better support our respective countries in preventing and fighting crimes,” added the Prime Minister.
INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock also underlined the conference’s role in strengthening regional and international police cooperation to better serve Africa’s security needs.
“There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to policing, but there is the common factor of information exchange.
“Africa, like every region in the world is facing complex terrorism and organized crime threats, so making sure that the police on the ground have access to data when and where they need it, is critical.
“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,” concluded the INTERPOL Chief.
Inspector General of the Rwanda National Police Dan Munyuza said the conference was a moment to reflect on the changing nature of law enforcement.
“Our discussions will help identify how we can work together to build synergies that deliver our respective mandates as law enforcement agencies, and indeed INTERPOL’s continued efforts to fight against modern and policing threats which are transnational and organized in nature,” said Inspector General Munyuza.
Key INTERPOL-coordinated operations carried out across Africa in recent years include:
- Usalama IV, targeting criminal routes across Eastern and Southern Africa, which resulted in the arrest of two most wanted wildlife criminals;
- In West Africa, Operation Epervier saw the rescue of hundreds of trafficking victims;
- Thunderstorm, against illegal wildlife trade out of Southern Africa, saw hundreds of seizures worldwide;
- Operation Trigger III – tracking weapons trafficking in the Sahel and North Africa;
- Operation Lionfish Mihdarati – curbing trafficking of drugs through African ports of entry.
Some 158 Chiefs of Police and other senior law enforcement officials from 42 countries and seven regional and international organizations are attending the three-day (5 – 7 February) conference in Kigali hosted by the Rwanda National Police.