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East African Region urged to embrace intelligence information sharing

Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Interior and National Administration, Prof.  Kithure Kindiki has exhorted Eastern African Regional Chiefs of Intelligence and Heads of Security, to embrace inter-agency cooperation in counter-intelligence, law enforcement, and crime prevention.

Prof Kindiki noted that the region confronts unprecedented transnational crime, terrorism, cyber threats, and other emerging risks.

“These threats, orchestrated by criminal entities aim to destabilise our nations, compromise our national security, and undermine the rule of law. Additionally, they cast shadows over our developmental prospects, thus gatherings such as the one we have experienced here, is more essential than ever,” said CS Kindiki.

Kindiki spoke when he closed a two-day Mashariki Cooperation Conference in Mombasa.  The symposium brought together 14 Heads of Intelligence from Eastern Africa, to share ideas and experiences.

The Intelligence chiefs were from Kenya, Burundi, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Seychelles, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The Heads of Intelligence had in-depth discussions and presentations on five major topics; The threat of terrorism in the region and countering violent extremism, transnational organized crime and its evolving nature, regional geo-political and socio-economic threats, emerging threats in cyber space, and harnessing opportunities within the region to combat threats.

Kindiki said the criminal entities represent a pervasive threat, originating in one corner of a nation and steadily growing from there, casting a shadow on not only the affected country but also neighbouring nations.

The CS encouraged the region to unite, fortify the alliances, exchange insights, and devise innovative strategies to safeguard the security and prosperity of the nations.

“Our collective response must be comprehensive and two-fold. Firstly, it necessitates a concerted effort through multi-agency cooperation within the borders of our nations,” he said.

He went on: “This entails breaking down silos, fostering synergy among various law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and ensuring a seamless exchange of information.”

CS Kindiki revealed that inter-agency cooperation has allowed Kenya to leverage the strengths of different institutions and pool resources to defend the country against pervasive threats.

“Through the constitution of multi-agency teams, we have effectively addressed our country’s most pressing security challenges, including terrorism, corruption, and inter-communal conflicts,” he said, adding, the collaboration should be extended to national borders.

The Intelligence Chiefs were urged to form formidable partnerships, real-time information and data sharing.

CS Prof. Kithure Kindiki, with the Heads of Intelligence from 14 Eastern Africa countries in Mombasa. Photo by Andrew Hinga

“Real-time information and data sharing are the linchpins of our collective defence strategy. The timely exchange of intelligence, enables us to stay ahead of evolving threats, facilitating proactive rather than reactive responses,” stated Prof Kindiki.

National Intelligence Service (NIS), Director General (DG), Noordin Hajj, said the cooperation formed with the region heads of intelligence, will bear fruits.

“Together we have planted the seed and when we look closely I think it will start germinating.  Our seed is in good shape and hopefully, it will thrive. Now we embark on watering the sprouting plant with confidence and great ambition,” he said.

The collaboration, coordination, and cooperation between the Heads of Intelligence, DG Haji noted, that it provides a new opportunity to work, trade, and live peacefully together.

“The benefit of our coming together is most precious; in the gains in security and prosperity for our people. Together, we can look to the future with optimism. Our collective shared ambition is to do more and do better. But today, we are starting from a position of strength,” he said.

Former CS Amina Mohamed urged the Intelligence Chiefs to innovate all the methods that were used before, to be upgraded.

“Rule book needs to be up-scaled and shared more widely. You will be able to achieve optimally if you are accorded the resources that you need,” she said.

By Sadik Hassan

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