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13 October 2017

INTERPOL Chief meets Côte d’Ivoire ministers on regional security

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire – International law enforcement collaboration was the focus of meetings between INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock and senior ministers in Côte d’Ivoire.  

The country hosts INTERPOL’s Regional Bureau for West Africa, forming a critical link between INTERPOL and police across West Africa. It allows the Organization to provide targeted support against the top threats facing the region, such as terrorism, migrant smuggling, and drug trafficking.

To better address these threats, identifying areas to further strengthen security cooperation between Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa and INTERPOL topped the agenda during Secretary General Stock’s meetings with Minister of Interior and Security Issa Diakite and Defence Minister Hamed Bakayoko.

The INTERPOL Chief also met with the Director General of the National Police, Youssouf Kouaté, as well as with the Head of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Abidjan, Souleymane Camara.

“The threats of transnational organized crime and terrorism require a unified and global response. While national and regional expertise underpin the global security architecture,  maximizing the use of existing trusted networks both regionally and internationally is essential,” said Secretary General Stock.

The INTERPOL Regional Bureau in Abidjan played a key role during INTERPOL’s Operation Lionfish III in March of this year, targeting the transnational organized crime groups involved in drug trafficking from Latin America through West Africa. In addition to 357 arrests, seizures included 52 tonnes of cocaine, cannabis and heroin, with the cocaine haul of 25 tonnes alone estimated to be worth approximately USD 950 million.

With terrorism a global issue that touches all regions, particularly West Africa in recent years, and firearms trafficking by terrorist groups a key challenge in the region, a training course for police in North and West Africa focusing on using INTERPOL’s firearms investigation capabilities to track and identify criminals was held at the Regional Bureau in July.

In March 2016, a terrorist attack carried out by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) at a beach resort in Grand Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire left 16 people dead.

To ensure that INTERPOL can provide the most swift and relevant support to regional counter-terrorism efforts, INTERPOL is creating several Regional Counter-terrorism Nodes (RCTNs) as part of its five-year counter-terrorism strategy. They will help INTERPOL to align its work with regional best practices and assist with enhanced counter-terrorism information collection, storage and analysis.

Based in INTERPOL offices, including Regional Bureaus, 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 INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France.