NIAMEY, Niger – To support security arrangements put in place by the Niger authorities, INTERPOL deployed a specialized team to the 33rd African Union Summit, which took place from 4 to 8 July 2019.
Following a request from Niger, an INTERPOL Major Events Support Team (IMEST) provided support for the authorities to prepare for, coordinate and maintain security at the summit, as well as detect terrorist threats and serious offences.
Two INTERPOL projects contributed to making this deployment a success. The first, Project Gemini, focused on training officers at the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) and on the ground – at border-control points in particular – on how to use INTERPOL’s databases. It also connected Niamey’s new Diori Hamani international airport to I-24/7, INTERPOL’s secure global communications system, allowing the automatic and systematic screening of all passengers by integrated searches conducted in INTERPOL’s databases. The second project, G5 Sahel, aims to encourage the exchange of police information to prevent any risks of terrorist attacks.
In the period leading up to the summit, and while it was taking place, INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau in Niamey, the Niger police, and all the country’s security forces conducted checks on people, travel documents and vehicles at the airport and six checkpoints surrounding the capital. They consulted INTERPOL’s databases using mobile technologies and powerful tools deployed in the field.
The main aim was to detect terrorists and any other international criminals trying to use false, stolen or lost passports to conceal their identities and anonymously enter the country. This vital support allowed the immigration services and border police to quickly determine whether a passport presented by a person intending to enter the country was valid or not.
Some 125,000 checks were carried out in INTERPOL’s databases, with more than 20 possible threats identified after “hits” were generated in the Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database and other databases containing information on internationally wanted criminals.
This year, the Organization also supported the G20 summit in Japan, the European Games in Belarus, and the Copa América football competition in Brazil. To date, nearly 140 IMEST teams have been deployed to countries all over the world, to heighten security at international events.