INTERPOL Chief visit to Mauritania aims to Turn Back Crime
Fighting terrorism high on agenda during Secretary General’s landmark visit
NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania – INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble has met with senior government and law enforcement officials in Mauritania – the 180th member country he has visited – to reinforce the cooperation between Mauritania and INTERPOL, especially in combating terrorism and transnational organized crime.
Meetings with Interior Minister, Mohamed Ould Ahmed Salem Ould Mohamed Rare, and Director General of Police, Ahmed Ould Bekrine focused on key security issues and ways to involve all sectors of society in understanding and preventing crime. The Minster stressed that Mauritania’s geographic location makes it a key partner for keeping the region and Europe safe from terrorism and other forms of serious crime.
With crimes such as terrorism and drug trafficking affecting Mauritania and the region, the INTERPOL Chief’s visit also aimed to generate support for the 5 June launch of the world police body’s Turn Back Crime global campaign to educate society about the ways in which crime affects our daily lives, and to assist the public in protecting themselves.
Turn Back Crime will encourage law enforcement, the private sector and citizens to play an active and collaborative role in crime prevention, using innovative channels including the web, social media and targeted public announcements.
“Some crimes may seem isolated or distant, when they in fact affect us all. The Turn Back Crime campaign will help citizens better understand how the decisions they make in their daily lives can have a real impact in preventing crime,” said Secretary General Noble.
“This global campaign will ultimately reduce all forms of crime by engaging the private sector and citizens to work together and with law enforcement to devise innovative ways to turn back crime, thereby creating a safer world for everyone,” added the INTERPOL Chief.
A classic example of how together society can turn back crime occurred in 2012 when, based in part on information received from a private citizen, Mauritania was able to identify, locate and arrest Abdullah Al-Senussi, the former Libyan director of military intelligence. Al-Senussi was the subject of multiple INTERPOL Red Notices, or wanted person alerts, amongst them one issued by the International Criminal Court in 2011 for terrorism-related crimes against humanity.
With terrorist groups using the country as a base for their activities, Mauritania is involved in a number of INTERPOL counter-terrorism programmes. The country has participated in multiple INTERPOL training sessions focusing on counter-terrorism, including using INTERPOL tools such as notices to combat terrorism and enhancing border security.
“Given its strategic location in the fight against the growing terrorist threat in northern Africa, it is critical that Mauritania’s authorities continue to collaborate with the global law enforcement community, through INTERPOL channels, to ensure the country does not become a safe haven for terrorist groups,” said Secretary General Noble.
The INTERPOL Chief also highlighted Mauritania’s involvement in INTERPOL’s West African Police Information System (WAPIS) programme – including hosting a WAPIS workshop in March 2013 – as a clear example of the country’s dedication to combating all forms of transnational crime.
“WAPIS is a European Union-sponsored project that will allow the 15 ECOWAS countries plus Mauritania to share police intelligence quickly across the West Africa region in order to fight terrorism and other forms of cross-border crime,” said Pierre Reuland, INTERPOL's Special Representative to the European Union, who accompanied Secretary General Noble during his visit.
Aside from supporting traditional law enforcement tools and initiatives such as WAPIS, INTERPOL’s Turn Back Crime campaign will also emphasize new and innovative ways that police, private industry and the public can collaborate to turn back crime.
In this respect, the world police body recently announced a ground-breaking partnership with AirAsia to prevent passengers from using stolen passports to board international flights. In addition, as part of the campaign INTERPOL will be launching its first set of videos educating the public about the links between organized crime and other interconnected crimes that can affect the global economy and put the public’s health and safety at risk.