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14 February 2014

Boosting law enforcement cooperation focus of INTERPOL Chief’s visit to Liberia

Secretary General concludes mission to West Africa to review security challenges

MONROVIA, Liberia – On his first visit to Liberia INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble has met with senior security and National Police Force officials to identify areas for enhanced cooperation against transnational organized crime.

In meetings with National Security Advisor Dr Henry Boimah Fahnbulleh and Inspector General of Police Clarence Massaquoi, the INTERPOL Chief underlined the importance of extending access to INTERPOL’s global tools, services, training and operational support to frontline police officers. Mr Noble also visited staff at INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau in Monrovia.

“Law enforcement authorities across West Africa face many challenges, including drug trafficking, human trafficking, maritime piracy and environmental crime. Fighting these transnational crimes in Liberia and beyond requires greater collaboration throughout the region and internationally, via the unique global tools and services provided by INTERPOL,” said Secretary General Noble.

In this respect Mr Noble commended Liberia’s authorities on their request earlier this month for an INTERPOL-led multinational Incident Response Team to assist with a crime scene investigation in Ghana on board the Liberian-flagged tanker Kerala, after it was hijacked in Angola in January.

Liberia is one of four flag states to have signed the Washington Declaration, pledging to continue to work with the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) and other partners in the effort to combat maritime piracy.

The country is also involved in the West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI) launched in 2009 to combat illicit trafficking and organized crime in the sub-region. This joint UN-INTERPOL project supports the Regional Action Plan of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in addressing the growing problem of illicit drug trafficking, organized crime and drug abuse in West Africa.

Underlining the threat posed by environmental crime in the region, in 2013 Liberia took part in Operation Wendi, an INTERPOL-led operation across five countries in West and Central Africa which targeted the criminal organizations behind the illegal trafficking of ivory. It led to almost 70 arrests and the seizure of some 4,000 ivory products and 50 elephant tusks, in addition to weapons and cash.

With Liberia one of 67 member countries to have recognized INTERPOL’s Travel Document, the INTERPOL Chief added: “Liberia has demonstrated its commitment to global law enforcement cooperation. Successfully dealing with current and emerging crime threats requires common solutions, which must include ensuring that frontline officers in Liberia receive via INTERPOL the crucial support and training they need.”

Mr Noble’s visit to the country concluded a five-day regional mission to West Africa, marking the Secretary General’s commitment to learning first-hand the security needs of member countries and identify ways that INTERPOL can help them ensure the safety of their citizens.