INTERPOL and Local Police Collaborate to Secure Africa Cup of Nations through Database Sharing & Biometric Checks

February 12, 2024

INTERPOL and the local police in West Africa join forces to maintain security for the Africa Cup of Nations by ensuring that frontline officers are provided with essential INTERPOL resources to detect high-risk individuals at border checkpoints. The police across the country were empowered to conduct biometric checks against the databases of suspected terrorists.

Situated adjacent to the Sahel region in West Africa, Côte d’Ivoire is often embroiled in conflicts involving extremist terrorist groups Cote d’Ivoire. To prevent potential overflow into Cote d’Ivoire during the Africa Cup of Nations, INTERPOL and local police worked alongside in efforts against suspected terrorist groups.

INTERPOL organized a special intelligence support team to assist Côte d’Ivoire in upholding safety for Africa’s Cup of Nations (CAN), as per the agency’s press release. Prior to CAN, INTERPOL arranged specialized training sessions for law enforcement and security personnel stressing the use of the agency’s databases and the significance of sharing intelligence among the international law enforcement community

From January 13th to Feb 11th, Cote d’Ivoire hosted 24 soccer teams for matches held in the cities of Abidjan, Bouaké, Korhogo, San Pedro, and the capital Yamoussoukro.

Making ensure the safety of the event and the three million fans traveling to Côte d’Ivoire, the special intelligence support team assisted the police in cross-checking the passenger manifests from all incoming flights against the INTERPOL’s criminals databases.

The cross-checking of the passengers seeks to recognize any potential suspect during the flight and facilitate Ivorian authorities in apprehending individuals upon their arrival.

Also Read: Interpol Blocks Bank Accounts, Seizes Millions as Part of Operation Jackal

Talking about the safety of the event, General Youssouf Kouyate, Côte d’Ivoire’s Director of National Police, reportedly stated:

“High-profile sporting events attract significant global attention, making them great targets for terrorist groups seeking to spread fear.  Ensuring the safety of fans, players and support staff involves complex security operations which must necessarily go beyond national borders.”

He further stated that,

“INTERPOL’s comprehensive support to Côte d’Ivoire for this event ensures that the joy of football is not overshadowed by security threats.”

Cyril Gout, INTERPOL’s Acting Executive Director of Police Services highlighted that organizing the Africa Cup of Nations was a monumental task, but Côte d’Ivoire received support from a global police network of 196 countries,  facilitating international cooperation for security.

Role of INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Security

The INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) in Abidjan, which operates within the Côte d’Ivoire national police force, is contributing to ensuring the safety of the event. The NCB provided training to the officers nationwide on how to use INTERPOL’s criminal databases and equipped stadium security personnel with mobile devices for real-time identification of potential criminals.

Furthermore, the bureau teamed with the West Africa Police Information System (WAPIS) to streamline data cross-checking at national, regional, and international databases.

By connecting sea, air, and land borders to the INTERPOL system before the Africa Cup, the bureau supports law enforcement to detect and prevent criminals from entering the country.

Information-sharing practices are employed by law enforcement agencies worldwide to enhance collaboration, streamline investigation processes, and promptly address criminal activities.

Also read: Hong Kong Invites Public Consultation on Information Sharing Proposal to Combat Financial Crimes