The Eastern Africa Police Chief Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) and Carabinieri, the Italian Police Force, yesterday, signed a memorandum of understanding which binds the two parties on various fields of policing.
The agreement was signed between the chairman of the 13-member regional police bloc, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Emmanuel K. Gasana and the Commander General of Carabinieri, Lt. Gen. Tullio Del Sette.
The signing event was presided over by Rwanda’s Minister of Justice, Johnston Busingye, and witnessed by Police Chiefs and representatives from EAPCCO member states.
The agreement generally focuses on exchange of best practices and upgrading the capacity of police officers in varied policing fields that are aligned under the EAPCCO mandate.
Present was also the Inspector General of Uganda Police Force (UPF), Gen. Kale Kayihura, and Italian Ambassador to Rwanda, with residence in Uganda, Domenico Fornara.
The MoU climaxed the week-long bilateral and EAPCCO experts meetings in Kigali, which include the counter-terrorism workshop; EAPCCO Organs Meeting (Permanent Coordinating Committee) of heads of CID, legal, gender and counter-terrorism and training, all which discussed ways and means of stronger cooperation in combating transnational organized crimes.
Minister Busingye, in his address, commended the formalized commitment between EAPCCO and Carabinieri calling it an “inclusive process” that will be valuable if the individual governments of the regional police bloc committee themselves to the implementation of the pact.
“This demonstrates the seriousness the region puts in cooperation as an important element that will go a long way to ensure regional security and stability,” Minister Busingye said.
As the chairperson of the EAPCCO Council of Ministers, the Minister thanked the Carabinieri Commander General for committing to share the expertise and pledged to engage other member countries to give the MoU the weight it deserves.
He, however, said that this partnership should add value to the earmarked centres of excellence in the region.
The centres of excellence include Peace Support Operations and cybercrime centre hosted by Rwanda; community policing in Uganda; modern forensic laboratory in Sudan; and regional counter-terrorism centre in Kenya.
Lt. Gen. Tullio, on his part, said the MoU shows the “seriousness, effectiveness, our forward vision and determination” in strengthening cooperation for a safer world.
“We have deep respect for EAPCCO... we are ready for full participation. This MoU is very important because it serves as a framework for stronger ties. This is good for our respective countries and the EAPCOO region in general,” Lt. Gen. Tullio said.
IGP Gasana said that the formal partnership opens another strategic chapter for EAPCCO
“This signifies the importance of regional police institutions to ensure collective effort in the fight against any form of crime affecting the region and beyond.”
EAPCCO, which was created in 1998 in Kampala, Uganda during the maiden meeting of Eastern African Police Chiefs, is composed of Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Comoros, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Seychelles, Somalia and Tanzania.
EAPCCO was created to promote, strengthen and perpetuate co-operation and foster joint strategies for the management of all forms of cross-border and related crimes, and to formulate systematic regional training policies and strategies taking into account the need and performance requirements of the regional police forces.
Its priority crime response areas include counter-terrorism, cattle rustling, environmental crime, human, drugs and arms trafficking; motor-vehicle theft, financial and hi-tech crime, and fugitives tracking, among others.