ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire - INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble has said that the opening of INTERPOL’s new premises for its Regional Bureau in Abidjan symbolizes the commitment of Côte d’Ivoire and West Africa to international law enforcement cooperation.
“Since the opening of INTERPOL’s Regional Bureau in Abidjan in 1994, all countries in the region have experienced dark moments. But they remained united in their determination to combat crime and terrorism, and the reopening of INTERPOL’s Regional Bureau is a symbol of the region’s solidarity,” Secretary General Noble said at a special ceremony in Abidjan on Saturday after a meeting with Ivorian Prime Minister Jeannot Kouadio-Ahoussou.
With INTERPOL’s Regional Bureau in Abidjan serving West Africa, Mr Noble said countries in the region faced a number of security challenges – including arms and drug trafficking, terrorism, human trafficking and maritime piracy – which required regional collaboration.
“INTERPOL’s new Regional Bureau in Abidjan will be an important resource for countries in the region to meet these security challenges,“ added the INTERPOL Chief as he paid tribute to Ivorian authorities for their efforts in the reopening of the Regional Bureau.
In this respect, the audience heard how an INTERPOL unit which included members of the Abidjan Regional Bureau had already supported an Ivorian police operation in analyzing drugs seized at Abidjan airport, and that specialist officers at INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France, were studying possible links to a drug seizure made by Belgian police.
The Head of INTERPOL said West Africa’s leadership in international law enforcement cooperation would see countries in the region become the first worldwide to be directly connected before the end of 2012 to INTERPOL’s iARMS system used to identify illicit weapons.
Senior officials at the ceremony included Hamed Bakayoko, the Interior Minister of Côte d’Ivoire who represented President Alassane Ouattara, Director General of the Ivorian National Police Bredou M'Bia,, Chiefs of Police from the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO), as well as Yves Kouassi, Acting Head of INTERPOL’s Regional Bureau in Abidjan, and Alain Justin Assemian Angui Eboi, Head of INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau in Abidjan. INTERPOL officials from other Regional Bureaus in Africa and National Central Bureaus in the region also attended the inauguration.
As part of its global presence and to support police authorities regionally by providing them with access to INTERPOL’s global tools and services, INTERPOL operates seven regional offices worldwide – in Argentina, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Kenya, Thailand and Zimbabwe. Each of INTERPOL’s 190 member countries maintains a National Central Bureau(NCB) which forms the link between national police and the INTERPOL global network.