An operation led by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has led to the arrest of several international suspects in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), the agency said in a statement on Wednesday.
Aiming to strengthen counter-terrorism (CT), the Operation Simba II, has boosted frontline officers’ ability to recognize a traveler as a potential terrorist or criminal using Interpol’s wide range of policing capabilities installed at air and land border crossings, according to the Interpol statement.From March 15-22, Interpol’s General Secretariat and Nairobi-based Regional CT Node (RCTN) for Eastern and Southern Africa coordinated action with police, immigration, customs and CT units were able to detect criminals as they tried to cross borders, the Interpol said.
“Almost three million checks were carried out against Interpol databases over eight days resulting in the detection of men and women wanted for serious crimes,” the agency said.
DR Congo authorities intercepted five Interpol-wanted people attempting to cross their borders, including one suspect wanted in Europe for serious regional organized crime.According to Interpol, Kenyan authorities flagged one man as an Interpol Red Notice target, a global alert sent to police worldwide about internationally wanted fugitives.It said the suspect is wanted by a central Asian country for serious fraud crime.
Access to Interpol databases at Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport enabled frontline officers there to detect a man originally from Asia and wanted by a country in the Middle East for financial crime, said the Interpol.It said tailored Interpol systems linking national and global systems at border control signaled the man as the subject of an Interpol’s Red Notice, triggering associated investigations in several countries.
According to Interpol, inquiries in Tanzania also pinpointed the arrival of a Red Notice subject wanted in relation to fraud and identity theft.”The results of Interpol’s first RCTN-led operation in the region clearly illustrate the security benefits of decentralizing CT efforts into the field,” said Karel Pelan, assistant director of Interpol’s CT unit.”By placing our experts at the heart of our member countries, Interpol helps improve regional police cooperation and provides hands-on CT support in our priority regions,” added Pelan.Operation Simba II has seen a significant rise in the number of hits on Interpol’s global criminal databases during the eight days of the operation, particularly on the Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database.
Stolen travel documents are a key asset for terrorist mobility, particularly for foreign terrorist fighters returning from conflict zones, said the Interpol statement.With access to Interpol’s databases and secure global police communications system (I-24/7) in key strategic locations, frontline officers in the four countries had at their fingertips the intelligence required to stop known criminals in their tracks.”Insecure borders nurture the growth of local and regional terrorism, so operations like Simba II build resilience by boosting the skills required to recognize the trends and tackle them holistically,” said John Gachomo, director of Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit.