UNODC Strengthening Cross-Border Law Enforcement Cooperation to Prevent and Counter Violent Extremism and Terrorism in Eastern Africa

The Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Coordination Organization (EAPCCO) Regional Counter-Terrorism Centre of Excellence (CTCoE) and UNODC organized a 5-day training workshop for EAPCCO Member Countries on Strengthening Cross-Border Law Enforcement Cooperation in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism.

Sustained acts of terrorism have the potential to threaten peace and security while undermining economic and social development. In Eastern Africa, acts of terrorism continue to pose a serious threat to the region, making strong coordination and cooperation within national governments as well as between Member States imperative to effectively prevent and combat terrorism. This also requires effective coordination and cooperation by regional and international organizations, especially in sharing best practices, lessons learned and assistance in the investigation and prosecution of terrorism cases.

Cross-border incidents related to terrorism and transnational organized crime include illegal entry and exit of individuals and goods, trafficking in firearms and ammunition, cash, trafficking in duel-use items including commercial explosives, detonators and detonation cord, but also counterfeit or illicit goods. Moreover, cross-border movement of wanted terrorism suspects, associates and foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) using falsified and fraudulent obtained travel documents further complicates the threat.

In order to effectively respond to the challenge of terrorism and terrorist activity, Member States must prioritize enhancing their respective border security and engage actively in cross-border cooperation, at regional and international level. Effective border control, security management, and infrastructure are key elements in combating terrorism and transnational organized crime.

Throughout the workshop, experts from UNODC, UNOCT and IOM presented preliminary findings in the fields of airport, maritime and land border security. Participants, addressed operational, procedural and legal challenges, identified training and operational needs, and shared expertise and best practices in strengthening land, maritime and airport border security to counter and prevent terrorist activity. At the heart of the discussion was the commonly identified need for enhancing formal and informal cross-border cooperation on collection and sharing of intelligence and information between criminal intelligence officers, investigators and border security officials.