G5 Sahel: UNODC strengthens capacities of specialized police services in Niger
To better anticipate and respond to cross-brder threats in the Sahel sub-region, such as illicit trafficking and terrorism, G5 Sahel States (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) decided to create a "Security Cooperation Platform" (SCP, in French "Plateforme de cooperation en matière de sécurité") to increase information exchange between them.
This regional cooperation tool, supported by UNODC since its launch, also includes the use of bilateral or multilateral joint police operations of repression and prevention. As part of this support, UNODC organized a training workshop from 28 May to 8 June 2018 in Niamey, Niger. Overall, 20 participants (including 4 women) from the Central Department Against Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime (in French " Service Central de Lutte contre le Terrorisme et la Criminalité Transnationale Organisée" - SCLCT/CTO), judiciary police, General Intelligence and the Central Office for the Suppression of the Illicit Drug Trafficking (in French " Office Central pour la Répression du Trafic Illicite des Stupéfiants" - OCRTIS) took part in this workshop.
During the first week of the workshop, participants were trained on criminal intelligence, to enhance their capacities regarding information analysis. The workshop also aimed to strengthen participants' understanding of the intelligence cycle, of its assessment and of analytical techniques at their disposal. To familiarize themselves with an analyst's daily work, participants also prepared a briefing note on the Groupe de Soutien à l'Islam et aux Musulmans (GSIM), which claimed responsibility for the attacks in Ouagadougou in March 2018.
The second week of training focused on investigation techniques, including monitoring and shadowing. After theoretical sessions, participants received practical training in the streets of Niamey, on surveillance and shadowing, both by foot and using motorcycles and cars. During the final day of the workshop, a large-scale shadowing simulation was organized, involving a couple suspected of drug trafficking, from their arrival at Niamey Airport, through various key points in the city, to a meeting with a potential provider.
" Thanks to this workshop, I have strengthened my capacities on the ground, now I have the skills to participate in surveillance operations" affirms a policewomen of the SCLCT/CTO at the end of the workshop. " This exercise was a great opportunity to practically review procedures and intelligence collection; I was able to efficiently deploy my elements during the simulation so we would never lose sight of the target and arrest them at the right time" explains the police officer in charge of the surveillance team during the large-scale simulation.
This training workshop was organized in Mali and Burkina Faso last April and will be replicated in Mauritania and Chad in the coming weeks. These sessions are part of a support programme to the SCP, submitted to the G5 Sahel by UNODC in January 2017, in the framework of its Sahel Programme. The objective of UNODC's assistance is to strengthen the capacity of Governments in the Sahel to efficiently combat drug trafficking and other illicit trafficking, organized crime, terrorism and corruption by enhancing the accessibility, efficiency and accountability of their criminal justice systems.
UNODC coordinates closely its support to the G5 Sahel with other partners, in particular the European Union, the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ) and Interpol thanks to regular exchanges and an established division of tasks.