Rwanda and Uganda police forces, yesterday met in Kabale-Uganda, to review the implementation of the bilateral cooperation and recommendations agreed upon by the two forces in the fight against transnational crimes and ensuring border security.
The meeting chaired by the two police chiefs – Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel K- Gasana and his Ugandan counterpart Lt. Gen Kale Kayihura – follows other two held in Uganda and Rwanda in May and August last year, respectively, which recommended cooperation in key security areas such as exchange programs and best practices, training, joint operations and timely exchange of information.
“We have been able to share, train and cooperate in fighting cross-border crimes...and we are in control,” IGP Gasana, who appreciated the achievements so far attained, said.
He added: “Considering the current threats and trends, and as we endeavour to reshape policing, the strategy to pursue collectively is a must-do business.”
He observed that enhancing cooperation will, no doubt, help to overcome the challenges that still exist, which in most cases are facilitated by the nature of borders, which are porous.
He emphasised on the need to refocus on fighting transnational crimes to ensure safety and security of people in the two nations and to lay more strategies that will give “value addition to what already exists in our mechanisms for the good of the population and common border security.”
Gen. Kayihura, on his part, observed that transnational crimes are becoming “more a characteristic rather than the exception in terms of the challenges faced.”
He commended Rwanda National Police’s “immediate response” to apprehend suspects in the recent murder of the Ugandan businessman, Dickson Tinyinondi, a money changer at Gatuna border, who was killed in Gicumbi district recently.
“With this partnership, people from the two countries should be assured that there is no haven for criminals in our countries,” Lt. Gen Kayihura stated.
“Today, there is no single one police force that can claim that it’s sufficient, even to deal with crimes within its borders. Some crimes within borders are linked with crimes across borders. Somebody commits a crime here and runs across to another country,” he added.
“It’s imperative...we must work together; it’s not diplomacy or being good; it’s vital to work together if we are to ensure safety and security of our two countries,” Kayihura stated.
“It’s important to share timely information and best practices and jointly build capacity because what happens in one country, in one way or another, affects our people in both countries,” he added.
Gen. Kayihura pledged commitment to working together to combat trans-border crimes, and thanked his counterpart for his “aggressiveness” in the implementation of the police agreed upon by the two forces.
The meeting brought together heads and representatives of police departments and immigration officials from the two countries.
During yesterday’s meeting, the two police forces agreed to set up a committee, headed by the Resident District Commissioner of Kabale, to undertake a study, control and manage money changers.
They also agreed on the extension of I-25/7 Interpol communication tool at Gatuna and Kagitumba entries and to set up a committee to handle traffic safety, security of vehicles and passengers along highways.
Others include setting up a team to develop doctrine on how to handle cyber crimes and other transnational crimes, generating a list of accepted alcohol brands from both countries and be shared at customs entry points and conduct joint operations and training.
The bilateral cooperation between the two forces, has so far seen the establishment of one border post at some ungazzeted crossing entries which include Karubumba while a police post was also established at Kizinga border point in Nyagatare District.
Seven other unmanned border points were identified and are currently jointly patrolled.
Joint operations were also conducted where three motorcycles stolen in Rwanda were recovered in Ntungamo in Uganda and criminals arrested, while awareness campaigns against drug and human trafficking are ongoing in areas bordering the two nations.
Plans are also underway to jointly procure and establish scanners and fire fighting stations at border outlets, light Gatuna, Kagitumba and Cyanika border points and deploy sniffer dogs at all outlets.