Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso are turning to anti-terrorism technology as concerns arise over the threat of equipped clusters in West Africa.
(African Stand) — When extremists attacked a checkpoint in Ivory Coast last month on the border with Burkina Faso, killing several Ivorian military personnel, the incident confirmed growing concern that the threat of armed groups in West Africa was infiltrating into another country.
At least 30 suspected militants were arrested, including Burkina leader Ali Ali Sidibe, while the authorities confiscated weapons, ammunition, USB keys, and mobile phones. Another 40 suspects – including 16 from Cote d’Ivoire – were arrested in May during joint counter-terrorism operations along the border.
INTERPOL is now helping both countries to use biometric data during investigations. To date, biometrics data for 37 suspects have been entered into INTERPOL’s databases and shared with the 194 member states to identify any links with the attacks and other individuals.
“The COVID-19 pandemic does not stop terrorist activities, which means that law enforcement operations must continue and will continue to address these threats,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.
He added: “Sharing this information with our member states enhances INTERPOL’s role as a global early warning system, enabling the police to make contacts that would not be disclosed otherwise.”
In the database, there are more than a million suspects, documents, financial accounts, and other terrorist-related entities in the Sahel region and beyond, including 85,000 foreign combatant profiles.
INTERPOL’s regional anti-terrorist base in Abidjan is now providing assistance to its counterparts in Ouagadougou to collect biometric data on some of the other suspects arrested in counter-terrorism operations.