LIBREVILLE, Gabon – Senior police and security representatives from Central African countries have met in Libreville to identify ways of increasing regional and international co-operation and information sharing in the fight against crime and public safety threats in the region.
With the eight member countries of the Central African Police Chiefs’ Committee (CAPCCO) – Cameroon, Gabon, Chad, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Sao Tomé and Principe – working closely with INTERPOL to seek solutions to crime in Central Africa, the five-day annual conference (11-15 October) closed with a meeting of the region’s security ministers attended by Gabon’s Prime Minister, Paul Biyoghe, Interior and Security Minister Jean-François Ndongou and INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.
Addressing the ministerial gathering – also attended by officials from INTERPOL’s National Central Bureaus in the region and from its Yaoundé Regional Bureau – Secretary General Noble said CAPCCO was ‘a key platform’ for designing joint security strategies in Central Africa, and for successful cross-border operations on the ground against international crime.
“Co-operation against international crime goes beyond national and regional borders, and this is particularly true when we think of Central Africa,” said the head of INTERPOL, describing the region as a strategic location for cross-border security efforts against criminal ventures, including illicit trafficking routes ranging from drugs trading to weapon smuggling.
The INTERPOL Chief said that while each region faced specific crime issues, dealing with them required common solutions, including ensuring that frontline officers receive the support and training they need.
In this respect, Mr Noble pointed to the increased use of INTERPOL tools in the region, highlighting for example how the annual use by CAPCCO police forces of INTERPOL’s global Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database was ten times what it was in 2005, or how in 2009 Operation Gbanda III targeting stolen motor vehicles had seen almost 900 police and customs officials trained and more than 18,000 vehicles checked against INTERPOL’s global databases, including its Stolen Motor Vehicles database.
With these results ‘ensuring long-term benefits to each of the countries involved, and to the region as a whole’, Mr Noble concluded by highlighting the importance of strategic alliances with key regional players in Africa against international crime, including with the Commission of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), whose President, Antoine Ntsimi, also attended the ministerial meeting.