Interpol in new strategy to fight terrorists in East Africa

Saturday April 11 2020

Interpol head regional CT Nodes Eastern and southern Africa Daniel Damjanovic (right) speaks during the release of the Interpol report operation dubbed “Simba Operation” that comprised Uganda, Tanzania, Congo and Kenya that targets the operations of terrorists in the region at DCI offices in Nairobi on April 07, 2020. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Movement of terrorists in the region will now be monitored remotely, Interpol regional bureau has said.

The change in tack has been linked to increased travel restrictions by governments to contain Covid-19.

“Due to travel restrictions linked to Covid-19, the Interpol staff had to leave the operational deployment stations earlier than scheduled and provide support remotely,” Gideon Kimilu, head of the East African bureau said.

The operation is part of Interpol's annual activities aimed at stopping terrorists and criminals in the region. This is done in partnership with participating member countries.

This year, four countries—Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Uganda participated in an operation code named Simba II that was co-ordinated by the Interpol general secretariat in partnership with the regional bureau for East Africa in Nairobi between March 15 and 22.

The operation involved the establishment of a node of counter terrorism experts from the members states, training of the four countries’ law enforcement officers on emerging trends and appropriate responses and equipping them with modern Interpol policing capabilities.


It centred on 30 operational spots that included nine airports and 21 land borders in the participating member states. Five were in DR Congo, seven in Kenya, nine in Tanzania and nine in Uganda.

Participating countries exchanged valuable criminal intelligence including their most wanted lists for entry into each other’s data base.

“Additionally, criminal intelligence related to cross border movement that was gathered during the operation was shared openly between the countries, which will allow for greater co-operation in the future,” said Mr Kimilu.

He said one of the bureau's counter terrorism program’s main objective is to insulate communities in the region against terrorism and terrorism related activities.

“This is achieved through programmes like the Simba operation whose main objective is to enhance border security and deny terrorists the opportunity to move within the region,” said Mr Kimilu.

Operation Simba II resulted in a rise in hits on Interpol's global criminal databases during the eight days of the operation, particularly on the stolen and lost travel documents database.