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10 February 2014

Togo role in fighting wildlife and transnational crime focus of INTERPOL Chief visit

LOMÉ, Togo – INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble met with Togo’s Minister of Security and Civil Protection at the start of a five-day mission to Western Africa (10–14 February) as part of the world police body’s efforts to support regional and international police cooperation.

Mr Noble’s discussions with Minister Damehane Yark focused on key security issues such as terrorism, transnational crime, drug trafficking, environmental security, and maritime piracy, with INTERPOL having deployed Intervention Response Teams to assist investigations in Ghana and Togo following the release of two hijacked vessels.

“The challenges of terrorism and transnational organized crime require close cooperation between member countries and INTERPOL. Togo, INTERPOL and other member countries have in particular demonstrated great success in thwarting attempts to illegally export tons of poached ivory to Asia,” said Minister Yark.

In August 2013, following the seizure of contraband ivory by Togolese authorities, an INTERPOL Investigative Support Team was deployed to collect DNA samples which was vital in determining the origin of the consignment.

“Togo has benefited greatly from INTERPOL’s wide-ranging expertise and support, and looks forward to continued and constructive cooperation in the future,” added Minister Yark.

Togo’s involvement in INTERPOL’s West African Police Information System (WAPIS) programme and Project AIRCOP, which tackles illicit drug trafficking, organized crime and drug abuse in West Africa, were highlighted by the INTERPOL Chief as clear examples of the country’s commitment to combating transnational crime.

“It is essential that officers have direct access to vital international policing information and services to assist them in carrying out their duties efficiently and INTERPOL is committed to supporting Togo in its efforts to do this,” said Secretary General Noble.

During his first official mission to the country, Mr Noble also met with the Director General of Togo police Mr Teko Mawuli Koudouovoh and visited staff at the National Central Bureau in Lomé.

Mr Noble's regional tour in support of INTERPOL member countries will next take him to Guinea, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The mission underlines the Head of INTERPOL’s commitment to learn first-hand the needs of member countries and to identify ways in which the world’s largest police organization can help them keep their citizens safe.