Launch of the AIRCOP Project in Cameroon

As part of the implementation of the Airport Communication Programme (AIRCOP) project in Cameroon, aimed at curbing illicit trafficking, UNODC launched the initial training of Joint Airport Interdiction Task Forces (JAITF) agents in Yaoundé and Douala. Among the attendees were representatives from the General Delegation for National Security (Délégation Générale à la Sûreté Nationale), the European Union (EU) Delegation in Cameroon, INTERPOL, as well as agents from Cameroon’s Customs and Gendarmerie forces.

This training, which took place from 1 to 12 June 2015 in Yaoundé, was spearheaded by experts from the French Police and the Swiss Customs specialized in the fight against drug smuggling and organized crime. Participants included thirty Cameroonian officials from the Customs, Police and Gendarmerie forces, carefully selected according to criteria of probity and proven professionalism. Similarly to the other JAITFs implemented elsewhere, these agents will receive additional training and mentoring focused on targeting and profiling techniques, communication tools, drug routes, forgery detection, cargo control, and other elements related to illicit trafficking.

 
Participants from the UNODC AIRCOP training session

By becoming a fully operational part of AIRCOP, the airports of Yaounde and Douala join a growing network of JAITFs currently spanning eleven countries in West Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. The AIRCOP project aims to combat illicit trafficking by notably intercepting illegal shipments as well as promoting real time information sharing between JAITFs units, law enforcement agencies, criminal databases and communication systems.

This integrated and proactive approach in the fight against transnational crime allows for effective results: 340 traffickers were arrested by JAITFs over the last three years, resulting in the seizure of 1.4 tons of counterfeit medicine, 645 kg of cocaine, 461 kg of ivory, 450 kg of cannabis, 136 kg of ephedrine, 104 kg of heroin, and hundreds of thousands of counterfeit dollars.

The AIRCOP project is an operational response to the ever increasing challenges posed by drug trafficking, considered a major source of concern by the international community especially in West Africa. Led by UNODC, in partnership with the World Customs Organization and INTERPOL, the AIRCOP project, funded by the EU "Cocaine Route Program", brings together 26 countries and aims to strengthen drug enforcement capabilities in international airports. Canada, Japan and Norway are among the co-funders of the project.

For more information:

The UNODC Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP)

European Union "Cocaine Route Programme"

UNODC Contribution to the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel