Operation Simba: Inside Interpol's Precious Gift to Kinoti

  • Masked Interpol officers arrest a crime suspect
    Masked Interpol officers arrest a crime suspect
    File
  • The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) launched an operation in Kenya and four other countries that has reportedly triggered high-profile investigations and arrests in several countries.

    In a report released by Interpol on April 1, 2020, it elaborated on the Operation Simba 2, an action to strengthen counter-terrorism (CT) action in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

    "With terrorist activity often linked to a wide range of other crime areas, the objective of Operation Simba II was to boost frontline officers’ ability to recognize a traveller as a potential terrorist or criminal using INTERPOL’s wide range of policing capabilities installed at air and land border crossings.

    "From 15-22 March, Interpol’s General Secretariat and Nairobi-based Regional Counter-Terrorism Node (RCTN) for Eastern and Southern Africa coordinated action with national police, immigration, customs, and CT units to detect criminals as they tried to cross borders," Interpol announced.

    Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) International Arrival Terminal. Thursday, February 14, 2020
    Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) International Arrival Terminal. Thursday, February 14, 2020.
    Simon Kiragu
    Kenyans.co.ke

    According to the information announced by the highly acclaimed police body, they conducted 3 million checks in the period of eight days, leading to the detection of men and women wanted for serious crimes.

    It further announced that through the initiative, Kenyan authorities flagged one man as an Interpol Red Notice target, a global alert sent to police worldwide about internationally wanted fugitives.

    The suspect, according to Interpol is wanted by a Central Asian country for serious fraud crime.   

    In addition to the detection, the report also indicated that further arrests and prosecutions are expected given that investigations are still unfolding.

    "Operation Simba II saw a significant rise in the number of hits on Interpol’s global criminal databases during the eight days of the operation, particularly on the Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database.

    "Stolen travel documents are a key asset for terrorist mobility, particularly for foreign terrorist fighters returning from conflict zones. Access to Interpol’s SLTD database of more than 80 million travel documents enabled front line officers to detect several individuals using stolen passports to travel," the recap by Interpol adds.

    The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), on a message on their social media platforms, hailed the project by the Interpol as measures that would aid in clamping down on both local and regional terrorism

    "Insecure borders nurture the growth of local and regional terrorism. Operations like Simba II build resilience by boosting the skills required to recognize the trends and tackle them holistically," the message reads.

    DCI Boss George Kinoti Speaking during a press conference at DCI headquarters on March 5, 2020.
    DCI Boss George Kinoti Speaking during a press conference at DCI headquarters on March 5, 2020.
    Simon Kiragu
    Kenyans.co.ke