AU to establish centre to curb transnational organised crime

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THE African Union (AU) has escalated efforts to establish a continental operational centre in Sudan to curb transnational organised crimes.

Known as Khartoum Centre, the continental operational centre’s establishment in Sudan was endorsed by the AU in February 2019 before it was formally approved by the Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government in February 2020.

The inaugural meeting to discuss modalities to set up the centre is underway in Victoria Falls, with the AU saying the setting up of the Khartoum Centre is long overdue as a result of an upsurge in transnational organised crime and irregular migration on the continent.

“As you are aware, the Khartoum Centre will bring together law enforcement agencies in member states in the fight against TOC and irregular migration. It is therefore imperative that right at the beginning of operationalising this centre, we as a commission come back to the primary stakeholders of this centre to consult on how best we should move forward. This workshop, therefore, marks a critical step in the process of preparing the strategic plan of the Khartoum Centre. With your support as the primary stakeholders of the centre, together we can develop a centre that will evolve into a continental leader in its mandated area of work,” said Mr Peter Mudungwe, AU Senior Technical Adviser – Migration, Governance and Liaison.

The Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Mr Aaron Nhepera outlined the objectives of the meeting, pledging Zimbabwe’s commitment to the centre.

“As we attend this inaugural workshop, whose objective is to provide the African Union member states with a platform to exchange information aimed at combating the scourge of trans-national organised crime, particularly human trafficking and migrant smuggling, I hope that over the next three days, you will be able to agree on a feasible operational model of the Khartoum Centre and successfully formulate the five-year strategic plan of the continental operational centre in Sudan.

“Zimbabwe is committed to the objective of this workshop, particularly the establishment of an institutional framework which will contribute towards combating human trafficking. Human trafficking and illegal migration are real, hence the need for close co-operation and collaboration, not only between and among intra-state agencies but regionally and continentally. To this end, the establishment of the Continental Operational Centre in Sudan is a timely and welcome development,” he explained.

Like most countries on the continent, Zimbabwe has had its fair share of challenges related to transnational organised crime which includes drug trafficking.