On 3 and 4 October 2022, INTERPOL hosted the debriefing meeting of Operation Trigger VIII, which took place in June 2022. Supported through the GIFP’s DISRUPT action, this operation played a key role in strengthening police cooperation and regional security by enabling thousands of seizures, numerous arrests, and investigations in West and Central Africa, with the wider goal of disrupting the supply of firearms for organised crime in the region. This meeting marked the end of the operational phase of Trigger VIII.
The debriefing meeting took place at the INTERPOL General Secretariat in Lyon, France. It was attended by Trigger VIII National Points of Contact (NPCs) representing the eight countries that participated in the Operation: Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. Representatives of each country presented their operational successes and open investigations.
The objectives included: supporting ongoing investigations and providing guidance to identify firearms trafficking cases for prosecution; facilitating international cooperation in the presence of transnational cases; enabling the exchange of best practices; establishing recommendations for future Trigger operations.
The main outcome of the meeting is a collection of operational recommendations and good practices to be considered for the preparation and conduct of future Trigger operations. Some of these recommendations include planning a future operation targeting firearms trafficking beyond Central and West Africa; increasing the operation budget for future participating countries; organising train-the-trainers courses in participating countries; training judicial staff in the management of seized weapons and ammunition.
The post-operational phase of Operation Trigger VIII will now focus on tracing all recovered ammunition and firearms, and interviewing identified suspects.