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01 September 2014

INTERPOL Chief discusses regional security needs during Eritrea visit

ASMARA, Eritrea – INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble has travelled to Eritrea as part of the world police body’s efforts to support regional and international law enforcement cooperation.

During his first official mission to the country, Secretary General Noble met with the Commander of National Police and Security Forces, Brigadier General Simon Ghebredengel, Head of the Eritrean Police Force, Colonel Beraki Mehary Tsegai, and Abraham Debesai, Head of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Asmara. Discussions focused on major security issues facing the country, including human trafficking, terrorism and maritime piracy.

The INTERPOL Chief highlighted Eritrea’s role in the two phases of Operation Usalama, held in 2013 and 2014. Led by the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO) and Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (SARPCCO) with support from INTERPOL, the 2013 operation resulted in the rescue of more than 300 human trafficking victims, the seizure of drugs, guns and stolen vehicles and the recovery of smuggled goods including ivory and diamonds.

In the 2014 operation, 117 human trafficking victims were rescued, and police in the 24 participating countries seized 15 tonnes of drugs, 162 stolen motor vehicles and 269 firearms, as well as medicines, counterfeit items and wildlife products.

“Law enforcement in East Africa faces many challenges. For a dedicated police force such as that in Eritrea, overcoming these challenges to effectively fight transnational crime requires greater assistance from countries with the resources and expertise to support Eritrea’s police,” said Secretary General Noble.

“For its part, INTERPOL renews its commitment to supporting the Eritrean police in their efforts to turn back crime and ensure the country’s citizens do not fall victim to transnational organized crime groups,” he concluded.

With terrorism and maritime piracy two of the key crime issues facing countries in the Horn of Africa region today, the Head of INTERPOL emphasized Eritrea’s involvement in recent INTERPOL training courses targeting these areas as examples of the country’s dedication to enhancing national and regional security.

In addition, Mr Noble also visited the NCB in Asmara as part of his commitment to learn first-hand the needs of member countries and identify ways in which INTERPOL can support the activities of their police forces.