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Interpol warn of security threats by organized gangs in East Africa

Tuesday August 26, 2014

Kenya's Criminal Investigation Department director Ndegwa Muhoro [left] and Deputy Inspector General of police Grace Kahindi leave after a joint security meeting between Eastern Africa Region and International police organization (Interpol) in Mombasa.

MOMBASA -- International police organization (Interpol) on Monday warned of new security threats by organized criminal gangs including terrorist militants which have caused instability in the Eastern Africa Region.

Head of Interpol regional Bureau for Eastern Africa Rwego Francis said the organized gangs have become more sophisticated with advanced technology hence need for concerted efforts among countries.

"All crimes have become transnational, so fighting crime without a regional approach will not assist us. We need to strengthen cooperation in carrying out simultaneous operation." said Rwego told East African Police Chiefs Association Annual Conference in Mombasa. He said Al-Shabaab continue to pose threat to the region

Rwego said cyber crime is widely assisting in funding the group’s activities in the region hence need to improve on the counter terrorism efforts.
He said through the establishment of Financial Intelligence Units (FIU) in every country it will assist in tracking their funding.

He called for enhanced counter terrorism efforts to deal with terrorism threats.

He also urged for regional approach that requires timely sharing of information, joint investigation and capacity building among members’ nations.

The week-long meeting is attended by police chiefs from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Comoros, Eritrea, Seychelles, South Sudan and Tanzania.

The meeting has been convened to map out ways of combating serious crimes that involve networks across countries.

Rwego challenged the participants in the meeting to come up with appropriate recommendations which will serve to make policing in the region more effective.

Kenya’s Deputy Inspector of Police Grace Kaindi said terrorism constitutes a serious threat to international peace and security.
"It’s our duty as security agencies to collectively fight terrorism as priority crime area.

"This can only be done by strengthen our capacities through enhanced cooperation and collaboration at the borders," said Kaindi.

She said the there is need to establish command posts at entry and exit points to enable screening of passport and travel documents.

Kaindi said the countries should also update national and international data bases that will play major role in screening criminal elements.

The meeting will also deliberate on threats posed by drug and human trafficking that has been on the rise in the Eastern Africa

"Our borders have been easy target for drug traffickers who have been able to compromise various sectors within our region. The implication is severe with criminal gangs fueling corruption and hurting legitimate economy," Kaindi said.

The police commanders and heads of criminal investigations from 17 countries are expected to share vital information on poachers that has been on the rise in the region.

The security meeting comes as the east African nation has faced a string of terror attacks in recent months which have culminated with the mass evacuation of tourists in the coastal city of Mombasa following twin attacks in Mpeketoni in July which left at least 95 people dead and many others injured.

Last September, the world watched in horror as Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya was infiltrated by masked gunmen brandishing grenades and AK-47 assault rifles.

The hostage and terror standoff lasted more than 48 hours and claimed the lives of at least 67 people and injured 175 others.


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