UNODC continues to support Mali anti-trafficking efforts by launching a Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force
As part of its continued support to counter drug trafficking in the region, UNODC and the Government of Mali officially inaugurated on 9 February 2015, the Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force (JAITF) of Bamako Senou International Airport. The newly established Task Force aims to better counter narcotic activities in the country by improving the detection, interdiction and investigative capacities of the airport.
Presiding over the inauguration ceremony, which was attended by Malian ministers, high-ranking officials, ambassadors and representatives from the MINUSMA, the Minister of Security of Mali confirmed his full support and engagement in the implementation of the UNODC Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP) in Mali. He expressed his readiness to cooperate with various stakeholders and indicated that the JAITF ought to expand its activities to combat terrorism and drugs trafficking through cargo and little aviation.
UNODC and its partners worked closely with the Malian Government to establish the new Task Force, which recently began its operations at the international airport. From the onset, the Malian authorities have been proactive in the ongoing support for the creation and daily operations of the Bamako JAITF. Already, there is a strong commitment from the authorities towards operational efficiency and the initial results are already promising. In only two months of operation, the JAITF have made four drug seizures totalling 19.2 kg of cocaine and 16.4 kg of methamphetamines.
Funded by the European Union and co-funded by Canada, Norway and Japan, the AIRCOP project aims to build drug-interdiction capacities at international airports in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and promote intelligence and information sharing between services at national and international level. JAITFs are connected with international law enforcement databases and communication networks to enable the transmission in real time to other international airports of operational information aimed at intercepting illicit shipments.
The project is implemented in partnership with the European Union, INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization and is part of the UNODC Contribution to the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.