By Vision Reporter
Police chiefs from the five East African Community (EAC) member states have agreed on several measures to combat terrorism in the face of increased threats in the region.
The measures, which among others include the formation of focal points in the office of each police boss and the fast tracking of the excellence centre on Counter Terrorism in Nairobi Kenya, were agreed upon at a meeting of the police chiefs organized by the EAC.
Speaking at the closure of the two day meeting, the EAC deputy Secretary General in charge political federation Charles Njoroge said the measures were necessary to the transnational nature of the vice which needs concerted efforts to tackle.
"The ever changing form of terrorism calls for such measures," Njoroge said at the Kampala Serena hotel on Saturday. The other measures include the establishment of the Counter Terrorism planning desk to be hosted and coordinated by Rwanda, establishment of the other centres of excellence in member states with comparative advantage in specific areas and holding regular bilateral and trilateral meetings.
The focal points in the various offices of IGPs will be headed by a senior police officer whose task will among others include coordination and exchange on a day to day basis of intelligence on terrorism. Given the urgency of the matter, it was agreed that by Monday the focal points should have designated officers.
Kayihura said member countries agreed to commit more resources so as to activate and fast track the CT excellence centre in Nairobi. "The purpose is to create mechanisms in coordination with the EAC to prevent these terror attacks from happening," Kayihura said.
The counter terrorism operation desk in Rwanda will be tasked to pick intelligence and evolve a concept plan for the region to tackle terrorism. "This will also involve other security agencies," Kayihura said. The recommendations of the meeting are to be submitted to the council on inter state security for approval.
It was also resolved at the meeting that member states commit technology, especially at the borders and key entry points as part of additional efforts to combat the vice.
Njoroge pledged to brief the EAC secretariat on the recommendations reached at the meeting ahead of the EAC summit next month at which it is expected that the issue of terrorism will feature prominently.
He also pledged continued support from the secretariat and urged the police in the region to continue networking. Initially though not on the agenda, terrorism took the centre stage following the recent terror attack at the Westgate mall in Nairobi Kenya.