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10 October 2017

INTERPOL unites West and Central African police chiefs to counter escalating terror threat

YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon – With Central and West Africa combating some of the most deadly terrorist organizations in the world, INTERPOL has brought together police chiefs and counter-terrorism experts from the regions to help streamline and enhance ongoing  law enforcement efforts.

The two-day (10 and 11 October) high-level meeting – the first of its kind – will enable delegates from 21 countries to both express their needs and be briefed on a range of areas where INTERPOL can provide additional support, including:

  • Assistance in identifying and locating members of known transnational terrorist groups and their supporters;
  • Helping countries bolster security at national and regional borders;
  • Preventing and combating the use of cyberspace for terrorist purposes;
  • Monitoring and detecting the trafficking of weapons and chemical and explosive materials;
  • Tracking and curbing the financial flows of terrorist organizations.

Opening the conference, René Emmanuel Sadi, Cameroon’s  Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization said no region of the world was immune to the threat of terrorism which required a unified and global response.

“The complexity of the challenges, the consequences of leaving security gaps and the exploitation of loopholes by terrorists requires a new kind of cross-border preparedness and response by police,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.

“The terrorist threat faced by Central and West Africa is not only severe, but also escalating in both frequency and impact.

“We must build on national and regional expertise to further strengthen the global security architecture if we are to develop a unified and effective response,” added the INTERPOL Chief, who highlighted the development of the Organization’s Regional Counter Terrorism Nodes (RCTNs) to achieve this balance.

Based in INTERPOL offices, the RCTNs will enable  counter-terrorism experts to sit side-by-side, enabling direct information exchange and rapid response capabilities to terrorist threats, backed by the Global Counter-Terrorism Centre at the General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France.

As part of a project to expand and modernize I-24/7, INTERPOL’s global communications network, Secretary General Stock also announced a EUR 2 million project to renew equipment in INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs) across Africa.

The results which can be achieved when frontline officers have access to INTERPOL’s global databases were recently highlighted by the arrest of two foreign terrorist fighters who were the subject of Red Notices, following checks against INTERPOL’s databases by West African border officials.

Increased exchange of identifying information is also a key issue for discussion. Biometric data shared via INTERPOL such as photos, fingerprints and DNA profiles have already led to the positive identification of terrorists around the world, including via facial recognition.