No World Cup terror threat: Interpol


Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble says the international policing organisation has no doubts that South Africa will be safe during the upcoming FIFA soccer World Cup. He says to date no terrorism threats have been directly linked to the 2010 spectacle.

Noble is in the country to assess the country’s security plan before the football fest in June and July, with special focus on the country’s ports of entry. “In our database, we’ve not yet found any terrorism or hooliganism threats directly linked to the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” he told the

BuaNews agency.

Noble said all Interpol member states had pledged to support South Africa host a safe and secure World Cup. During the showpiece, he said Interpol will use advanced technology handheld devices to screen the passports of hundreds of thousands of visitors who will be streaming into all South African ports of entry.

This he said is not only aimed at denying people posing security threats to enter the country, but to crack down on organised crime, drug and human trafficking. “We will be conducting the checks on the visitors because we know that heinous crimes such as terrorism and human trafficking are mainly linked to stolen or lost passports,” he said.

He said all the 32 participating teams will have representatives at their international co-ordination centre during the event to share their respective country’s security information. Noble also had praise for the South African police. “What I have seen so far is very positive. South Africa can be proud of the level of security that is in place,” Noble told reporters. “My opinion is that South African police services is doing all that is in its power to ensure that South Africa is as safe as possible during the World Cup. … South Africa’s planning covers everything. South African planning is above our expectations.”

South African Police national deputy commissioner for operational services, Lieutenant General Andre Pruis, said the country is ready to deal with any form of hooliganism during the World Cup. He said the country has not received any direct terrorism threat. “We are ready to deal with any form of hooliganism during the event. We’ve been working closely with France, Britain and the Netherlands to furnish us with personal information of individuals who might embark on actions of hooliganisms,” he said.

Pruis said more than 8000 police officers have been trained to deal with unruly crowds, adding that they have also refurbished their BAE Systems RG12 Nyala armoured internal security vehicles which are normally used when “there are riots”, the state BuaNews agency says. He said South Africa will also work with neighbouring countries if not the whole continent to ensure that the tournament is free from any form of criminal activity. Some 41 000 police will be on duty for the World Cup out of a total of 182 754 employees.

Key operational support from Interpol will include access to the Interpol Dangerous and Disruptive Persons (DDP) database to screen for those involved in organised crime and hooliganism. “It’s just good to have that available,” says Pruis. “We have already established access to Interpol databases at 66 000 terminals countrywide, and will also be able to link directly to their command systems in Lyon (France). We are also establishing various mobile access systems in our vehicles, and will distribute some of these access systems to foot patrols and the like.”

South Africa has to date successfully hosted nearly 150 major sporting events and several United Nations summits without incident, but Noble and Pruis say the tournament’s high-profile nature calls for increased vigilance.