UNODC successfully implements the Operation Africa TRIGGER III

    This activity was financed by Germany and the Kingdom of Denmark

In close cooperation with INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization, the UNODC Global Firearms Programme organized a workshop to help the implementation of Operation Africa TRIGGER III.The Operation was conducted simultaneously in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Nigeria from 20 to 25 November 2017. The Operation lead to seizures amounting to 130 firearms in 7 countries (50 firearms in Guinea, 25 in Mali and 21 in Benin).

Following these successful seizures, national authorities requested additional support to UNODC for upcoming investigations on these seizures. These requests were also submitted using iArms, a digital registration platform for missing firearms. In the case of Benin, the Operation helped to identify a firearm that had been missing from the national stocks for years. The Operation made it possible to find the arm and to start investigations on the individual carrying it.

"The inclusive concept of the TRIGGER III Operation consists in ensuring that representatives of Police, Customs and judicial authorities work together closely throughout the whole process of tracing back missing firearms", affirms Jacques Ndour from the UNODC Global Firearms Programme.

Participants at the debriefing meeting on the TRIGGER III Africa Operation in Abidjan

The TRIGGER III Operation was conducted accordingly to the  Security Council Resolution 2370 (2017) which aims at preventing illegal procurement and illegal production of firearms. The TRIGGER III Operation is the first of its kind in Africa and it was put in place to combat the trafficking of firearms, especially by terrorist groups in Africa.

The judges in charge with the investigation and prosecution of cases of missing firearms were invited to join the Operation from the beginning. Local and national authorities were encouraged to work closely together, which enabled greater information exchange between the different levels."This will ultimately allow the confiscation and destruction of firearms, which is the final purpose of such seizure operations. Furthermore, the Operation contributes to greater transparency and a safer management of seized firearms at Police stations", claims Mr. Ndour.

"The investigation on missing firearms requires close exchange between the different entities of the criminal justice chain which is essential for the fight against illicit trafficking of firearms that keep nourishing instability and hinder peaceful and sustainable development in West and Central Africa." adds Pierre Lapaque, UNODC Regional Representative for West and Central Africa.

Images of the seized firearms during the TRIGGER III Africa Operation

Following the TRIGGER III Operation in November 2017, a debriefing meeting was organized in January 2018 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, which brought together 25 law enforcement officers and judicial authorities to share experiences and to prepare future cooperation between the 9 countries that were involved in the Operation.The participants of the debriefing welcomed the commitment of UNODC in the fight against illicit trafficking of firearms. They expressed their interest to pursue similar operations in the future and the need to further train relevant national and local stakeholders in charge with conducting the operations in the field.

By organizing the TRIGGER III Operation, UNODC contributes to evidence-based prosecutions of criminal cases that are related to firearms. Together with its partner countries, UNODC combats illicit trafficking of firearms by establishing tracing and recordkeeping mechanisms that allow the identification of missing firearms throughout the world.

The activity was implemented thanks to the financial support of Germany and Denmark, through its contribution to the UNODC Sahel Programme.

For more information:

UNODC Global Firearms Programme


World Customs Organization