LYON, France – A terrorist suspect wanted by Algeria and subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice has been found in a Malian jail under a false name after checks against INTERPOL’s databases revealed his true identity.
The 25-year-old, who is now awaiting extradition to Algeria, was among 96 people arrested in a counter-terrorism operation in Mali. An INTERPOL Incident Response Team (IRT) was deployed to Bamako at the request of Malian authorities to help identify the prisoners and run checks against 13 seized weapons as well as mobile phones and laptops.
Following training on biometric devices, Mali’s Gendarmerie fingerprinted, photographed and iris-scanned the prisoners, with the data then sent to the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) in Bamako for checking against INTERPOL’s global databases.
Checks against INTERPOL’s fingerprint database revealed a match to an individual recorded under a different name as the subject of a Red Notice issued at the request of Algeria.
In addition, more than 400 gigabytes of data have so far been extracted from the phones and laptops including contact details for nearly 3,000 people including some 900 foreigners, which have been passed on to the NCBs of the concerned countries for further investigation.
The IRT deployment and ongoing assistance was the focus of today’s meeting at the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters between INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble and a delegation from Mali headed by Karim Keita, Chairman of the country’s National Defence, Security and Civilian Protection Committee.
“The support provided by the INTERPOL team has been vital in helping to identify these prisoners, and the training means that our law enforcement officers also now have the skills to continue this work,” said Mr Keita.
“Mali remains strong in its efforts to combat terrorism and other forms of crime, but this is a fight which cannot be won alone and we look forward to our continued cooperation with the global law enforcement community via INTERPOL,” added Mr Keita.
INTERPOL Secretary General Noble said the results obtained by the IRT deployment to Mali underlined the importance of properly identifying prisoners to enable checks against INTERPOL’s databases.
“This case once again highlights a significant security gap in the world’s ongoing anti-terror efforts.
Without Mali’s request for INTERPOL assistance, this terrorist suspect would never have been identified and could have potentially continued to plot and commit terrorist acts,” said Secretary General Noble.
“There still remain hundreds, if not thousands, of prisoners in jails around the world who have not been properly identified because of a lack of training and equipment to perform these basic tasks.
“INTERPOL is committed to supporting Mali and any other member country requesting our help to enhance their national security efforts,” concluded the INTERPOL Chief.
To date 25 INTERPOL Blue Notices have been issued at the request of NCB Bamako to assist in identifying other prisoners, and details of the seized firearms have been entered into INTERPOL’s Illicit Arms Records and tracing Management System (iARMS).
The Mali delegation included Head of the National Police, Inspector General Hamidou Gogouna Kansaye, Director General of the Gendarmerie Colonel Major Mody Berethe, Head of INTERPOL NCB Bamako Mahamadou Zoumana Sidibe and head of the Anti-terrorist unit Commandant Ibrahima Sanogo.