Interpol conducted a seven-day operation between 30 November - 6 December that saw law enforcement officers intercept illicit firearms, ammunition and explosives, and disrupt the trafficking networks used to supply terrorists across West Africa and the Sahel.
The operation dubbed KAFO II, jointly coordinated by Interpol and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), frontline officers targeted smuggling hotspots at airports, seaports, and land borders in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger.
Officers checked more than 12,000 individuals, vehicles, containers and goods against international criminal databases, and carried out physical searches, to determine if suspects were using stolen travel documents, were known to police in any of INTERPOL’s 194 member countries, or were travelling in a stolen vehicle.
As well as arresting a number of suspected terrorists, officers seized firearms and a range of illicit goods that include: 50 firearms, 40,593 sticks of dynamite, 28 detonator cords, 6,162 rounds of ammunition, 1,473 kilos of drugs (cannabis and khat), 2,263 boxes of contraband drugs and 60,000 litres of contraband fuel.
“Trafficking in firearms is a lucrative business which, in turn, fuels and funds other types of serious crimes,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock. “Operation KAFO II shows the need to connect the dots between crime cases involving firearms and terrorists across different countries.”
The Operation mobilized 260 officers from police, gendarmerie, national commissions for the control of small arms and light weapons, customs and anti-trafficking airport units, and border and prosecution services in all four countries.