Interpol secretary-general Jurgen Stock briefed the African Union (AU) peace and security council on what the international police body is doing to combat transnational and terrorism on the continent.
The Interpol top man highlighted the deployment of an incident response team (IRT) to Kenya to support the national authorities’ investigation following the January Nairobi terror attack.
Expertise provided by the Interpol team included disaster victim identification, cyber analysis to decrypt seized mobile phones and portable devices, biometrics, explosives and firearms, as well as photo and video analysis.
To assist law enforcement across Africa in efforts to disrupt criminal networks behind organised transnational crimes including human and drug trafficking, people smuggling and environmental crime, Interpol provided analysis and operational support according to Stock.
“Criminals, terrorists and armed insurgents profit from crime, moving people and products through illicit trafficking routes and networks, creating fault lines from one region to the next across Africa.
“Interpol’s focus remains on ensuring efforts are directed to where the action happens – on the frontlines of policing.
“This is why Interpol policing capabilities and initiatives for Africa are designed to best support on the ground realities,” he said pointing to the recent Operation Epervier II as an example.
Conducted in Benin and Nigeria in early April, the operation saw almost 220 victims of human trafficking rescued. Among them were 157 children younger than 16.
Follow-up investigations continue with police arresting 47 people and seizing vehicles, cash, mobile phones and computers.
To support national and regional policing needs, Stock pointed to the four Interpol Regional Bureaus for Central, East, West and Southern Africa, in addition to the Special Representative office at the African Union which opened in 2016.
Interpol and the AU signed an information sharing agreement in January. It provides a platform for co-operation with Afripol in the fight against terrorism and organised crime. Afripol is the African Police Organisation launched in Algeria in May two years ago.
Under the accord, Afripol has access to Interpol’s nominal, stolen motor vehicles and stolen and lost travel documents databases.