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31 December 2007

INTERPOL team in Mauritania to assist investigation into murder of French tourists

LYON, France – Officers from an INTERPOL Incident Response Team (IRT) arrived in Mauritania on Saturday to provide on-site assistance to local police authorities who are investigating the murder of four French tourists on 24 December.

Ahead of the teams’ deployment, INTERPOL also issued Blue Notices – which ask police in INTERPOL’s 186 member countries to provide information about an individual’s location and activities – for two suspects wanted in connection with the fatal shooting which left a fifth person seriously injured.

Fingerprints and photographs of the suspects have been added to INTERPOL’s databases and circulated to police worldwide and a regional alert has also been issued to countries surrounding Mauritania.

INTERPOL dispatched the IRT team following a request from the National Central Bureau in Nouakchott, and its members are working with police officers on the ground to assist in information exchange and ensure that any messages received and sent in connection with the investigation are treated with the highest priority.

“The role of INTERPOL’s Incident Response Teams is to support and assist local and national investigators and to help co-ordinate their actions on a regional and where necessary, international scale,” said INTERPOL’s Executive Director for Police Services Jean-Michel Louboutin.

INTERPOL has dispatched 35 IRTs to the sites of numerous terrorist attacks and natural disasters around the world since 2002. In May 2007, an IRT was deployed to Mauritania following the country’s largest ever cocaine seizure – 629 kilograms – at the airport in Nouadhibou.