Member states of EAPCCO and SARPCCO, short for Eastern – and Southern respectively – Africa Police Cooperation Organization, last week came together to conduct a two-day exercise covering both airports and seaports, where available, in an attempt to improve border security and align systems of detection of contraband cargos and items carried in checked in luggage.
Supported by Interpol, immigration, customs, regular police, and other security organizations from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Sudan, participated, while from the Southern African region it was Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The results, findings, and recommendations of the two-day intensive surveillance and practicing mission will be discussed in Mahe in July when the two organizations will hold a joint meeting in the Seychelles, which presently holds the chairmanship of EAPCCO through Police Commissioner Ernest Quatre.
Ships docking at seaports as well as aircraft and disembarking passengers were subject to added screening procedures which involved the use of sniffer dogs helping to detect contraband, drugs, blood ivory, and other prohibited items.
Commented a regular tourism source in the Seychelles: “From what we learned, the exercise went smooth. We know that there is a high level of security already in place at the airport, mainly because we do not require visitors to apply for visa in advance, we welcome any nationality without visa requirements. But that also means that we have to have systems in place that our hospitality is not abused by letting in criminals wanted elsewhere posing as tourists. It is a question of our country’s reputation to be a safe and secure destination and our customs and immigration officials; besides other security organs, are doing a good job in keeping the Seychelles safe. We are not aware that the two-day exercise caused any arriving tourists to complain or object.”
It is further understood that similar exercises will be carried out at random dates, only communicated hours before swinging into action to further improve border security at airports and seaports with land borders to follow on the African mainland.