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06 November 2015

Regional cooperation key to INTERPOL operation targeting terrorist movements

LYON, France – An INTERPOL operation in North Africa and the Sahel targeting the movement of terrorists and others using fraudulent travel documents has highlighted the importance of regional cooperation and the support of INTERPOL’s policing capabilities.

Law enforcement officers from Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco and Niger conducted heightened controls on passengers at their respective international airports through systematic screening of arriving and departing passengers’ travel documents against INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database, implementing Standard Operating Procedures and Policies of the database, and fostering regional interagency cooperation between police and immigration authorities.

More than 4,800 searches were conducted against the SLTD database, resulting in seven positive hits. In one case, a screening at the airport in Casablanca determined the passport of a passenger travelling from Côte d’Ivoire to France via Morocco had been reported as stolen in France, and the passenger was denied boarding.

Passenger data was also screened against INTERPOL’s nominal database.

The five-day (26-30 October) operation was led by the INTERPOL Integrated Border Management Task Force (IBMTF), under the framework of the German Government-funded Programme to Foster Stability in North Africa and the Sahel. The ultimate aim is to counter the movement and financing of terrorist networks.

In parallel, an operational team of investigators from seven countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger and Tunisia – was deployed to Tunis, Tunisia to conduct a scenario-based operation which highlighted the role of INTERPOL’s policing capabilities and the importance of regional and interagency cooperation. Some 23 law enforcement officers were involved in the two actions.