Security chiefs from East African countries are meeting in Kampala, Uganda to map out strategies on how to fight terrorists in the region.
Police Chiefs that are gathered for the meeting include INTERPOL and counter terrorism officials from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Comoros, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Mozambique are converging under the theme: “Border control challenges in the fight against terrorism in the east African region”.
The meeting dubbed “terrorists fighters” opened on Tuesday, is to end today Thursday 6th December 2018.
In a statement, Uganda’s Police Inspector General JM Okoth Ochola said, terrorism had taken root in the region for the past 20 years.
“Terrorism within the region is, therefore, not only a threat, but a reality which needs to be confronted in a collective and coordinated manner,” Mr. Okoth Ochola , said in a speech read for him by Director INTERPOL Uganda Dr. Fred Yiga.
IGP Ochola said pockets of outlawed armed groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army and Allied Democratic Forces had “inflicted untold suffering to the people of Uganda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central Africa”.
The police chief also noted that the region was being infiltrated by foreign terrorist fighters.
“A number of individuals also travel across borders to join violent extremist groups as fighters, while others seek military training and return to join local groups or crime gangs,” IGP Ochola said.
The security chiefs were also warned of individuals who were mobilizing funds and logistical support to terrorist groups.
“Just like actual fighters, this logistical wing of terrorist networks must, as matter of priority, be hastily targeted and suppressed at the earliest opportunity.” IGP Ochola said.
FRANCOIS PERRENOUD, East Africa Head, INTERPOL said that it is time for African countries to use international criminal police organizations like INTERPOL to fight terrorism on the continent.
Perrenoud further added that INTERPOL is doing an assessment mission to have an image and overview on how to react depending on each region that is why he calls upon east African police chiefs to use the available tools provided by INTERPOL to fight terrorism in the region.
Director INTERPOL Uganda AIGP Dr. Yiga said that Uganda is now considered one of the countries that have mastered the fight against terrorism. The country has had a number of success stories where suspected terrorists are netted paraded before court and convicted.
It’s upon this that Countries in the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization are here for a 3 days training on terrorism.
The meeting has addressed various issues including preventing and disrupting terrorist activities through the identification of members of terrorist networks and the affiliates in EAPCCO region, challenges of international police cooperation in the fight against terrorism in the region, boarder control challenges among others.