Interpol Chief Seeks Police Alliance to Fight Piracy Off Somalia.

the secretary general of Interpol, Ron Noble2

Halkaan ka akhri

PARIS May 29, 2009 — While warships pursue pirates around the Horn of Africa, the secretary general of Interpol, Ron Noble, is pressing for a global alliance of criminal investigators to hunt the bandits by examining the money trail of million-dollar ransoms.

On Friday, Mr. Noble, the first American to head the international policing organization in Lyon, urged the creation of a special task force at a Group of Eight meeting of justice ministers in Rome.

Piracy “is a classic, classic transnational crime problem occurring on the high seas,” Mr. Noble said in an interview before the two-day meeting. “We’ve got organized criminals targeting victims, taking them hostage and using extortion to get money. And what’s happening now is that the world has focused on a military response.”

Mr. Noble said that it made sense to dispatch naval conveys to confront pirates off the coast of Somalia, but that “what doesn’t make sense — what I can’t understand — is to release these people after detaining them and let them go back and try again.”

Piracy is on the agenda of the meeting amid rising concerns about the threat to the region’s major shipping routes. Anti-piracy conferences are also taking place this week in London and Egypt to examine the 114 attempted attacks on ships this year in the Gulf of Aden that resulted in 29 hijackings and the kidnappings of 478 sailors. NATO, the European Union, China, India, Russia and the United States have dispatched warships to the area on anti-piracy patrols. But ships of the NATO fleet, like the Canadian frigate the Winnipeg, usually chase the boats, seize firearms and ladders and then release the crews.

Mr. Noble said he wanted to form a task force in Africa of investigators from a number of countries to create a data base of photos and DNA and fingerprint records to keep track of suspects. As it is now, he said, data collection is done on a piecemeal basis. What was needed, he said, was a method to collate information about identities and alliances.

“There is the whole question of corruption on shipping lines,” Mr. Noble said. “How do you think these pirates are able to find the ships to attack? Obviously they have inside information. Obviously there are conversations that are going on, or e-mails that are being exchanged. And you find their modus operandi by debriefing people you arrest.”

Source:  The New York Times

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