Alumni in Focus

Mr. Sylva

Mr. Sylva

Mr. Sylva

Customs Inspector, Captain

We love to engage alumni in useful discussions regarding RTC trainings. This month the spotlight is on Mr. Sylva from Senegal, who was a participant during the International Air Cargo Interdiction Training. Let’s hear what he has to share with the RTC team. Enjoy the read!

Mr. Sylva, a Senegalese Customs Officer during the International Air Cargo Interdiction Training in May

Mr. Sylva, a Senegalese Customs Officer during the International Air Cargo Interdiction Training in May

Could you please tell us about yourself and your law enforcement career?

My name is Sylva and I am a customs inspector, Captain by rank with the Customs Office at the Dakar Airport –Yoff, Senegal.  My duty is to carry out physical inspection and control of customs documents as well as imported goods and export-bound products.

What were your impressions about the Air Cargo Training?

The course has come at a timely moment. The fact is that we are living in an international environment characterized by permanent threats, hence the need for capacity development for law enforcement officials. The course has provided a platform for sharing, cooperation and collaboration.

Could you please share with us the knowledge you have acquired and how this will help advance your Law Enforcement career.

After receiving the welcome packet, I was able to do a little research about the course title.  I managed to put together some pieces of information on the course. However, the explanations provided by the instructors who are experienced professionals with exceptional teaching skills, enabled me to perceive some gaps, shortcomings and weaknesses in my work. I took advantage of this course to upgrade myself especially in the area of control, passenger profiling, detecting banned goods, looking out for dangerous air freight, fake travel documents and types of trips undertaken by travelers. The theoretical work in the classroom, combined with the practical aspect with a visit to the cargo warehouses at the Accra airport gave me a practical insight into imports and exports.

Participants at a briefing at the Cargo Village inside the Kotoka International Airport

Participants at a briefing at the Cargo Village, KIA

By what means will you transfer the knowledge acquired to your colleagues

Upon my return home, I intend to organize step-down trainings to educate and share the knowledge I have acquired at the RTC. I will train them on how to comfortably work with modern tools to be able to detect fake currencies and documents by using ultra violet rays and torch lights. Lastly, I will enlighten them on some common security gaps that can pose threats to our countries and how to tactically address them.

Could you share with us successful interdiction case(s) you have worked on?

Through intelligence gathering we interdicted a woman who was dressed in African print as a pregnant lady who wanted to smuggle concealed drugs in a plastic container attached to her stomach.  When she was searched it turned out that the she was not pregnant and that the plastic contained drugs and she was arrested.

Another successful arrest was a man who pretended to have a fracture in the hand by wearing a plaster of Paris (POP). It was later discovered that the POP contained drugs.

Do you have any additional comments to share with the RTC Alumni Network?

The continent Africa and the USA have vast expanse of borders which cannot be physically guarded and policed every inch along the borders. This can only be done through intelligence gathering, collaboration and cooperation. We want these courses to continue and new thematic areas developed in order to enhance the effectiveness of the security of our countries as we patrol our borders. We are grateful to the instructors for their exceptional teaching skills and professionalism; they have been generous in sharing their knowledge, quite affable and jovial. We thank all the staff for the good work they are doing. We wish you good luck.