Interpol and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) transnational Operation KAFO intercepted and disrupted supplies of terrorist groups in West Africa and Sahel, HumAngle has learnt.
According to a United Nations report, part of what was seized from the terrorists’ supply networks was a large quantity of gasoline seized in Niger and Mali but believed to have originated from Nigeria.
“Among the new trends observed during this second edition of Operation KAFO is the seizure of contraband gasoline in large quantities in Niger and Mali. It would appear that the gasoline originated in Nigeria and was trafficked to finance and supply the Al Qaeda terrorist group and its affiliates,” the report said.
In early December, the Interpol and UNODC conducted an operation code-named Operation KAFO II in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger which led to the seizure of illegal firearms, ammunition and explosives, disrupting trafficking networks used to supply terrorist groups.
Operation KAFO II focus included disrupting the flow of other types of illicit goods used to finance criminal and terrorist activities.
The report indicates that officers checked more than 12,000 people, vehicles, containers and cargo in international criminal databases and conducted field research to determine if the suspects were using stolen travel documents, were known to the police in one of the 194 member countries of Interpol or were travelling in a stolen vehicle.
“In addition to the arrest of a number of suspected terrorists, police seized firearms and a host of illicit goods such as 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,” the report said.
Firearms trafficking is a lucrative business which in turn fuels and finances other types of serious crime – Jürgen Stock, Secretary-General of Interpol was quoted in the report titled “UN and Interpol tackle arms trafficking in West Africa and the Sahel”.
“The fight against the illicit trafficking of firearms requires strong international and inter-agency cooperation, in order to identify the source of these weapons and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Ghada Waly, the Executive Director of UNODC.
“In addition, more than 40,000 sticks of dynamite and detonators were seized in several locations, all intended for illegal gold mining which constitutes a new source of funding, and even a recruiting ground, for armed terrorist groups in the Sahel.”