KIGALI, Rwanda – The Head of INTERPOL has said that effective regional efforts in Eastern Africa against transnational crime and terrorism underpin security across Africa and beyond, boosted by INTERPOL’s global reach.
Speaking at a meeting of police affairs ministers from countries of the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO), INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said that international law enforcement must also adapt to the evolving nature of transnational threats.
“At the core of INTERPOL’s existence is the principle that any country’s internal security hinges on criminal threats outside its borders. This is where international law enforcement operates and evolves, and it is why INTERPOL is focusing on bringing together regional security bodies – within Africa, and beyond – into a cohesive, coherent and effective global security architecture,” said Secretary General Stock.
Addressing the threat of terrorism, Mr Stock said: “As with all acts of terrorism across all regions, the recent appalling terror attacks in Mogadishu claimed by Al Shabab only strengthen our common resolve to work together against extremism in Africa and elsewhere.”
“Recent operations in the region underline the importance for police to make full use of INTERPOL’s policing capabilities to exchange and access vital information. Crimes and criminals cross borders and regions, making it imperative to share criminal information, resources and skills to stay ahead of the curve,” added Mr Stock.
In June, Operation Usalama III, involving 11 EAPCCO member countries, disrupted regional transnational criminal networks, backed by INTERPOL’s global network, expertise and databases.
Human trafficking victims were rescued in Namibia, Rwanda, and Uganda; drugs, guns, ammunition and gold were seized; and some 156 suspects were arrested across the 22 participating countries, including in Sudan a fugitive wanted by Jordan.
Earlier during the two-day EAPCCO meeting, Secretary General Stock laid the foundation stone for Rwanda’s regional cybercrime centre in Kigali before outlining to police chiefs how, through its Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore, INTERPOL provides cutting-edge research and capacity building on new forms of crime.
Rwanda’s Inspector General of Police and incoming EAPCCO Chairman, Emmanuel Gasana, said: “Cybercrime is a major threat affecting all nations alike, requiring unity of effort. Rwanda’s regional cybercrime centre being established in Kigali will help enhance operational, capacity building and rapid responses. The Rwanda National Police thanks INTERPOL for its existing cooperation in fighting regional and international cybercrime and other threats.”
Kigali is currently hosting Exercise Cyber Tracks, an initiative organized by the Rwanda National Police and designed and implemented by INTERPOL specialists for training on cyber-enabled crime and digital forensics.
INTERPOL’s recently opened Special Representative Office to the African Union in Addis Ababa marks a further milestone in its engagement with Africa, underlining INTERPOL’s need for a powerful African presence and voice to fulfil its vision of a safer world.