29 June 2012

Rwanda: States Urged to Strengthen Joint Intelligence Centre

The Deputy Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), Ambassador Vicente Muanda, has called on member states to fully constitute the regional intelligence centre if it is to successfully fulfil its mandate.

The centre was opened this month in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country where armed groups are using revenues from illegal mining to buy weapons to destabilise the region.

"All countries that haven't sent officials to the centre should do so to enable sharing of intelligence to neutralise negative forces still operating in the DRC," Muanda told reporters in Kampala, yesterday.

Each of the eleven member states of the International Conference for Great Lakes Region, including Rwanda, is mandated to send two officials to Goma as members of the centre.

In its newsletter, the ICGLR commended Rwanda as the country that might be the first to promptly issue the first ICGLR regional certificate.

The ICGLR pilot certification was undertaken in three mine sites in Rwanda that include; Rutongo, Nyakabingo, and Gifurwe.

Uganda's Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Rukia Isanga Nakadama, called on member states to enact laws that will lead to implementation of decisions of the ICGLR Heads of State.

"We should also sensitise our people about the law. The police and judiciary should be on board because many cases of violence come up but with no evidence," she said.

She added that there was need for clear and practical strategies for engendering non-traditional sectors like mining.

Reports have indicated that the DR Congo, whose untapped resources are estimated to be $24 trillion bigger than United States and Europe's GDP combined, experiences the highest level of illegal mining in the region.

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