, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 9 – Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda have signed a security pact in order to guard against criminals crossing borders as integration becomes a reality, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku announced on Thursday.
He said the pact was made necessary by the adoption of a single tourist visa to the three countries and the ability of citizens to now enter each others’ countries without needing a visa or special permit.
“We recognise that this also will come with some security challenges because criminals will want to take advantage of the fast-tracked movement of peoples and goods and services,” he explained.
The security chiefs of the three countries have therefore been directed to co-ordinate their efforts at mitigating crime.
“What this actually entails is that chiefs of police, defence, correctional services, intelligence and immigration will develop organs that facilitate the co-operation between their various services,” he said.
In the recent past, Kenya and Ugandan security forces have been forced to work together following a spate of terror attacks and the subsequent escape attempts by the suspected terrorists.
More recently the Ugandan police force launched a manhunt for one Andreas Mueller alias Ahmed Khaled who is suspected of involvement in the Westgate terror attack and who is believed to have crossed into Uganda following the attack.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s declaration on Jamhuri Day that African passport holders no longer require visas for stays shorter than six months in Kenya is also bound to complicate security matters even further.
And to further secure Kenya’s borders, Lenku is lobbying the United Nations, Kenya and Somali team charged with repatriating Somali refugees to hasten the process on the premise that their camps harbour criminals.
“We’ve noted criminals operating from the refugee camps in Dadaab, throwing Improvised Explosive Devices to our police. As much as we signed a tripartite agreement to allow for voluntary repatriation of the refugees, the exercise is only voluntary to the extent that it’s not a threat to national security,” he said.
He also came to the defence of the Inspector General of Police, David Kimaiyo, saying that the service has its own special way of conducting its business and that the impression created by the publicised vetting exercise that transfers are conducted in a haphazard manner is false.
“When we say that a signal has been given to a police officer that is a police language and they know what it mean (sic) and therefore it must not be construed to say that there were no given instructions,” he defended.
Lenku was speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Thursday on arrival from Kigali where Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda were holding a tripartite meeting on security.