The Minister of Defence and Security Honourable Thomas Kagiso Mmusi officially opened the 2nd INTERPOL Geiger Working Group Meeting in Gaborone today (13/09/2022). The meeting will focus on policing nuclear and radiation hazards.
Minister Mmusi said it is paramount for collaboration as law enforcement, stating that this will ensure state readiness in addressing security challenges such as conflicts, wars and transactional organized crimes.
He said Botswana, like other developing countries is actively pursuing technology for development, including the use of nuclear and radiological material, which he said has a potential to pose security challenges in sectors such as agriculture, health, energy to name but a few.
Mr Mmusi said in an effort to respond to challenges brought about by nuclear and radiation hazards materials, Botswana has enacted relevant statutes which include, Chemical Weapons Prohibition Act of 2018, Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Act of 2018 and Biological and Toxin Prohibition Act of 2018. He went on to note that Government has set-up Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Management Authority to coordinate the use and handling of such materials.
For his part the Regional Criminal Intelligence Officer assigned to INTERPOL’s Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Unit Mr Matthew Thompson, said that the mission of INTERPOL is to prevent and fight crime through enhanced cooperation and innovation on police and security matters.
He added that the unlawful and mishandling of radioactive and nuclear is a serious issue that needs to be addressed collectively. Mr Thompson highlighted that individuals who traffic these materials do so without care for borders, the rule of law or public safety hence the need for close cooperation, not just nationally but regionally and globally.
Mr Thompson urged participants to share ideas, skills, intelligence and knowledge on radioactive and nuclear issues as dealt by their respective countries.
The 2nd INTERPOL Geiger Working Group Meeting that started today will end on the 16/09/2022. It is attended by 72 law enforcement officials and stakeholders from 10 SADC countries being Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The meeting follows the 1st INTERPOL Geiger Working Group Meeting which was held in South Africa in May 2022.