Four Somali Police officers from the Mogadishu INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) received training in Nairobi on using INTERPOL databases and systems in March, 2020. This system allows information sharing on terrorism and criminal networks amongst police officers around the world. The training was delivered by INTERPOL officials working at the Regional Bureau of Interpol in Nairobi (RB Nairobi) and Kenyan NCB INTERPOL police officers, with the support of EUCAP Somalia.
As a result, the Somali Police Force (SPF) is now conversant with accessing and utilising the INTERPOL data, and can share their own data on terrorist and criminal activity across borders.
Following the set-up of the NCB INTERPOL office in Mogadishu in early 2019 which was supported by EUCAP police experts, the training in Nairobi was the next step.
Colonel Zakarie Muse, Chief of INTERPOL NCB Mogadishu, said that the training was a milestone for the SPF. He noted that the key focus of NCB Mogadishu will be on ensuring the professional development and increasing the team’s manpower and NCB capabilities beyond the NCB office such as the airport. He further highlighted that it will be important to raise awareness between different SPF directorates in order to promote information sharing so that Somalia can participate as an active partner country in the INTERPOL work.
“Our priority will be data sharing and expanding our networks, both internationally and internally. We will strengthen cooperation and information sharing so that other SPF units will be aware of INTERPOL’s work and can contribute when needed,” he said.
The volatile security situation is a challenge for INTERPOL’s work in Somalia but in this situation, INTERPOL can provide capabilities for enhancing international law enforcement cooperation which is important for addressing regional threats. It is also important to undertake an assessment on NCB`s capabilities and developing them as well as developing relationships with the local units responsible for counterterrorism and promoting INTERPOL policing capabilities.
EUCAP Somalia’s Police Adviser Daniela Miteva added that operating on the ground in Somalia, EUCAP can facilitate the implementation of SPF capacity building projects and thus complement INTERPOL’s efforts to develop capabilities of NCB Mogadishu.
Among the trainers was also Inspector Nelson Munga who is in charge of Fugitives and Wanted Persons in NCB Nairobi. He noted that training and access to shared information is key for police cooperation between Somalia and Kenya. “Our countries have lots of common challenges and the more advanced NCB Mogadishu is, the better the level of security in the region will be,” he stated.
This view was also shared by Inspector Andrew Chege, NCB Nairobi Extradition desk, who reiterated that one of the NCB functions is to connect the police in different countries to ensure fast exchange of information. “This is the primary value of the INTERPOL: to help police in investigation and tackling crime,” he said.