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02 July 2013

Operation focuses on use of INTERPOL tools to combat terrorism in the Sahel

ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire – A programme to combat terrorism in the Sahel through the use of INTERPOL’s tools has brought together some 20 law enforcement officers from across the region for an operation to screen passenger documents at major airports and border points.

Operation Hawk was launched on 24 June at the INTERPOL Regional Bureau in Abidjan. Held under the umbrella of INTERPOL’s Border Management Task Force, the operation will continue until September 2013.

The initial week-long phase of the operation gathered officers from nine countries – Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia – in Abidjan to screen passenger data against INTERPOL’s databases at the international airport, and to process operational material including INTERPOL notices, passenger manifests and terrorist-related information from the participating countries. INTERPOL’s Command and Coordination Centre in Lyon, France provided real-time support.

Led by INTERPOL’s Public Safety and Terrorism Sub-directorate, in coordination with the Regional Bureau in Abidjan and the Capacity Building and Training Directorate, the operation has seen the participating countries contribute to current international investigations on terrorist attacks that have recently occurred in the Sahel region.  

In addition to screening travel data, the training-focused operation also included a crime scene table-top exercise and training on regional counter-terrorism investigations.

Operation Hawk is ongoing in the nine participating countries, with officers continuing to check passengers at border points against INTERPOL’s databases. Ongoing support from INTERPOL will include the issuing of notices and diffusions when necessary.

The operation is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD).