The pan-African operation, codenamed “FLASH-PACT”, which aims to strengthen the ability of frontline border agents to identify suspected terrorists and dismantle the networks behind them, was carried out in two phases between July and September.
Using INTERPOL’s global criminal databases for wanted persons, stolen identity and travel documents and stolen vehicles, law enforcement worked together with INTERPOL and AFRIPOL to locate, intercept and apprehend criminals attempting to cross regional borders.
Operation FLASH PACT: Intelligence-driven, collaborative and strategic Underlining the need for a pan-African multi-stakeholder counter-terrorism effort, the operation engaged police, customs, border forces and counter-terrorism experts, including Nodes INTERPOL Counter-Terrorism Regional Offices in Abidjan and Nairobi.
Participating countries concentrated their operations at airports, seaports, land border crossings, and a variety of previously identified terrorist hotspots.
Prior to tactical operations, investigators collected and examined data to establish a clear picture of the regional terrorism threat using globally sourced data from INTERPOL’s 195 member countries.
Stronger borders, stronger national security As stolen travel documents are a key asset for the mobility of terrorists, particularly foreign terrorist fighters returning from conflict zones, the operation saw INTERPOL databases viewed more than six million times, resulting in some 400 matches in INTERPOL’s travel and identity document database.
Access to INTERPOL databases at border control points identified nine individuals as Red Notice subjects.
An INTERPOL Red Notice is a request to law enforcement agencies around the world to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action.
Highlighting how terrorist activity often converges with other criminal areas, INTERPOL identified more than 20 people as wanted for a wide range of serious crimes, including fraud, money laundering, drug and wildlife trafficking.
One man has been singled out as the subject of a Special Notice from INTERPOL and the United Nations Security Council (UNSS) alerting the global law enforcement community about individuals who are subject to sanctions imposed by the UNSS.
The three most common sanctions are asset freezes, travel bans and arms embargoes.
Several INTERPOL Blue Notice subjects were detected attempting to cross the borders of participating countries.
A Blue Notice is used to collect additional information about a person’s identity, location, or activities in relation to a crime.
“West and East Africa have seen an increase in terrorism in the last decade.
This is rapidly spreading its devastating impact southward, causing death, fear and destruction, devastating African communities and economies,” said INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services Stephen Kavanagh.
“Counterterrorism operations like FLASH-PACT are clear evidence of the joint commitment between AFRIPOL and INTERPOL, allowing us to share knowledge about local terrorist networks, better understand their methods, motives and funding, and ultimately identify and arrest terrorists.
who chose to disseminate information.
terror,” added Mr. Kavanagh.
Agents in Uganda and Benin detained six travelers with forged passports, and in Mozambique, police authorities arrested a man in possession of an AK-47 assault weapon, two magazines and 51 rounds of ammunition.
In another case, police seized 360 coils of explosives and a detonating cord.
More than 250 travelers were arrested for attempted illegal immigration and several stolen luxury vehicles were recovered in Tanzania.
A powerful partnership INTERPOL, AFRIPOL and the African Union work side by side on issues of common concern, share resources and knowledge, and develop combined responses to Africa’s policing needs.
“As a regional police organization, AFRIPOL provides a framework for police cooperation at the strategic, tactical and operational levels across African states, helping us build stronger and more meaningful capabilities for African law enforcement through our partnership with INTERPOL.
”, said the interim executive director of AFRIPOL.
, Ambassador Jalel Chelba.
“It is important to underline the role of joint operations such as FLASH-PACT in enhancing the cooperation and security of African countries.
INTERPOL’s support has enabled intelligence sharing leading to increased security through arrests and seizures,” added Ambassador Chelba.
Operation FLASH-PACT is the first counter-terrorism operation organized by the two police organizations since the African Union established AFRIPOL in 2014.
The operation was coordinated with the help of INTERPOL’s African Union Support Program (ISPA), which assists AFRIPOL.
in the development of its strategic framework and operational functions across the continent and in the fight against transnational crime and terrorism with INTERPOL and other regional police bodies.