The police forces of Rwanda and Tanzania have launched joint operations along the common border in a bid to combat cross-border crimes.
Delegations from the two sides met recently at Rusumo One Stop Border Post and designed operational procedures as part of the implementation of the existing bilateral cooperation between the two forces. Assistant commissioner of police Dismas Rutaganira, the Eastern region police commander, led the Rwandan delegation while SACP Augustine Allomi, the RPC of Kagera region, headed the Tanzanian representation.
The mayors of Kirehe District, Gerald Kazungu, and of Ngara region, Lt. Col. Michael Mntenjele, also attended the meeting.
The two sides discussed drugs trafficking, and illegal border crossings and smuggling especially on the Akagera river and agreed to conduct joint operations to destroy cannabis farms, prevent illegal crossings and smuggling, share information and organize joint awareness campaigns in border communities and refugees.
Marines from both sides have since started operations in River Akagera against drug traffickers and smugglers, among others.
Rutaganira commended the existing cooperation between the two police forces and the neighbouring regions in particular.
“This is what our police chiefs tasked us to do in the implementation of the MoU, and a general guidance from both head of states, who encourage warm relations between our two countries,” he said.
Allomi also lauded the partnership between the forces and local leaders on both sides, and noted that the marine boat provided by RNP to facilitate patrols in Akagera river is a step further towards combating cross-border crimes.
He also thanked his Rwandan colleagues for fighting cattle theft and recovering livestock stolen from Tanzania.
In April this year, Police in Kirehe intercepted 26 cows that had been stolen from Tanzania, after the victim alerted both sides and worked together. The cattle was handed over to the rightful owner in presence of leaders from both sides.
The two mayors also emphasized the importance of strengthened cooperation in sensitizing communities against illegal border crossing, smuggling, drug trafficking, and environmental crimes including poaching and deforestation.