Mar 16, Colombo: The international police, INTERPOL, in cooperation with Sri Lanka's Criminal Investigations Department (CID) arrested a man in connection with a 2007 terror bombing attack as he travelled from Pakistan to the Maldives via Sri Lanka.
Iqbal Mohamed, a Maldives national was arrested at the Male international airport in less than six hours after his passport triggered an INTERPOL alarm at the Colombo international airport.
INTERPOL had a Red Notice for internationally wanted persons issued for Mohamed at the request of the Maldives National Central Bureau (NCB).
INTERPOL's Major Events Support Team (IMEST) deployed to Sri Lanka for the Cricket World Cup identified the terror suspect during a routine check of Colombo airport passenger manifests.
After confirming Mohamed's identity, the IMEST liaised with Colombo International Airport CID and the NCBs in Colombo and Male to monitor the 42-year-old's transit and eventual arrival at Male International airport where he was taken into custody in the early hours of Thursday 10 March.
As part of its support for the 2011 Cricket World Cup security arrangements, INTERPOL has deployed IMESTs to all three host countries - Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka - with each team providing on the ground support to national police, including conducting real-time checks of INTERPOL's global databases.
INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble hailed the arrest as a 'model example' of what can be achieved through police co-operation and information sharing using INTERPOL's global tools and resources.
"Our National Central Bureau in Male had ensured that the key elements for this arrest were already in place – he was subject to an INTERPOL Red Notice, his passport details were in our Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database, but what brought this all together, the 'x factor', was the presence of our IMEST in Sri Lanka providing support for the cricket world cup," the INTERPOL chief has said.
"That INTERPOL was able to check the passport details of passengers arriving, departing and transiting Colombo airport was also essential in this case, and highlights an area for future development in working closely with airlines to help boost passenger safety and security by identifying internationally wanted persons," the officials has added.
"This arrest clearly demonstrates the real added value that INTERPOL brings to each of its member countries and that the more they contribute and use our resources, the more that they and their fellow law enforcement officers across the globe will benefit," concluded Mr. Noble.
(Source: INTERPOL press release)