By Steven Candia
Police chiefs from the Eastern Africa region are to send a team from among themselves to South Sudan to among others explore avenues of intervening in the crisis there.
The decision to send a team to Juba was one of the resolutions contained in a joint communiqué read towards the end of the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs retreat held at Paraa Safari lodge.
"It has been resolved to send a delegation comprising of police chiefs in two weeks' time to Juba to extend solidarity and explore opportunities of support by member countries," the communiqué reads.
South Sudan is a member of the 13 member Eastern Africa Police Chief Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO). Speaking moments after the communique was read, Gen Kale Kayihura, the Uganda Police Chief said the decision was borne out of the need to stem the problem.
"This is necessary because what happens in South Sudan affects the entire region," Kayihura said. It now remains upon the police chiefs to elect from among themselves the size of the team and who makes the team that will travel to Juba.
Earlier the issue of sending a team to Juba was included on the agenda and featured on the plenary session, prior to the decision being taken. Other resolution taken included establishing regional centres of excellence to deal with the problem of contemporary violence and terrorism and the same decision was reached for cyber and hi-tech crimes in the region.
"May be in the next retreat in Kenya we will be lucky to be graced by at least two Heads of State," Kayihura said. It is then informed his counter parts from member states and other delegates on the re-tweaked programme for day, which included details of the afternoon session and the need to discuss the South Sudan.
Further still on contemporary violence and terrorism it was resolved that police in region establish standard operating procedures, identify key stakeholders and review past resolutions among others.
Other resolutions on cybercrime include police in the region coming up with a unified checklist of systems, regulations and procedures to monitor social media, establishment of cybercrime units and establishment of supporting laws and regulations. On the issue of the formation of a continental police it was agreed that the caucusing continues ahead of the Africa police chief's conference due to be held in Algeria next month.
The conflict which is feared to be taking the shape of a civil war has now forced over 40000 South Sudanese refugees to flee into Uganda, raising security concerns.
Other than police bosses from Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda also attending the retreat with the theme: Challenges of contemporary policing in the Eastern Africa Region and beyond: Managing violence and cybercrime is a high level delegation from the International Police (Interpol) head office in Lyon France, headed by Noboru Nakatani.
At least 10 police chiefs are attending the retreat, the highest ever attendance under EAPCCO to chart out ways of enhancing security in the region and combat the ever rising and evolving transnational crime, now a sticking issue for security world over. Also on the agenda is the issue of the establishment of a continental police force, an idea which has won Museveni's support.
There have been earlier efforts by police chiefs from various regional bodies such as EAPCOO and SARPCCO to form a continental police with the recent being an endorsement at the 82nd Interpol Annual General meeting where the police chiefs meeting on the sidelines agreed to go ahead with the project