Rwanda National Police (RNP) and Tanzania Police Forces (TPF) have launched operations along the common borders in a bid to combat crimes that are cross-border in nature, especially illicit drugs.
Delegations from the two sides met last Friday at Rusumo One Stop Border Post and designed operational procedures as part of the existing bilateral cooperation between the two forces.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dismas Rutaganira, the Eastern region Police Commander, headed the Rwandan delegation, while the Tanzanian delegation was headed by SACP Augustine Allomi, the RPC of Kagera region.
The exercise was also witnessed by the mayor of Kirehe District Gerald Kazungu and his counterpart of Ngara region, Lt. Col. Michael Mntenjele.
The two sides discussed issues related to the state of drug trafficking, and illegal border crossing and smuggling, especially through River Akagera.
They, therefore, resolved to conduct joint operations to destroy cannabis farms, wherever they may be on both sides, prevent illegal crossing and smuggling, and promote information sharing and 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.
ACP Rutaganira commended the existing cooperation between the two police forces and the neighbouring border regions in particular.
“This is what our Police Chiefs tasked us to do in the implementation of the MoU, and the general guidance from both heads of state, who encourage warm relations between our two countries,” ACP Rutaganira said.
His counterpart of Kagera region, SACP Allomi, lauded the partnership between the police and local leaders on both sides.
He noted that the marine boat provided by Rwanda National Police to facilitate patrols in Akagera River is a step forward towards combating cross-border crimes like drug and human trafficking and smuggling.
SACP Allomi also thanked Rwanda 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 animals were handed over to the rightful owner in presence of leaders from both sides.
The two local leaders; Kazungu of Kirehe and Lt. Col. Mntenjele also emphasised the importance of strengthened cooperation in sensitizing communities against illegal border crossing, smuggling, drug trafficking, and environmental crimes including poaching and deforestation.
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