By Robert Segawa
Top police officers from 26 countries of the Eastern and Southern Africa regions have resolved to intensify operation Usalama to handle transnational crimes.
While meeting at Entebbe Imperial Resort Beach hotel, Police bosses heading Criminal Investigations, Operations and Interpol in the different countries launched the fifth stage of operation Usalama.
Operation Usalama is an inter-regional operation across the Eastern and Southern Africa targeting cross boarder crimes that include; human, drug and arms trafficking, people smuggling, environmental crimes, car thefts and sell of counterfeit products.
The operation which has so far undergone four stages, began in 2013 with operations against different categories of crimes handled annually by a team of about 1,500 officers deployed through out the 26 countries.
According to the Regional Interpol Bureau head of Southern Africa Michael Mawa, the need to intensify the operation is the increasing high level mobility of criminals and operations of criminal cartels within the regions and beyond.
The first operations Usalama focus on drug trafficking while the second focused on terrorism and wildlife trophies, the third which was carried out in 2015 targeted motor vehicle theft with more than 1,000 stolen motor vehicles recovered, in 2016 it was fuel adulteration while an operation against Counterfeit products was carried out last year.
The operations are usually done co currently in all the members countries which include Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eriteria, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia, South Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius, Angola among others.
The police bosses will meet for two days, to lay out a strategy on the focus and implementation of Usalama 5 which was launched today.
However, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martin Okoth Ochola has advised the officers to be strategic and keep in mind that the criminals have very sophisticated plans.