INTERPOL has warned that terrorist groups are exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic to reinforce power and influence across the globe.
The France-based global policing organisation outlined their concern in a recent report that has been distributed to law-enforcement agencies around the world. It outlines key risk factors to global security that have resulted from the pandemic, which Interpol says will be exploited by terror groups and other non-state actors (NSAs).
These focus on Covid outbreaks, national responses to the virus, the social climate of regions due to lockdowns and economic impact, and the resilience of security services in the face of the global crisis. Interpol highlighted “the critical need to monitor the reaction and response by terrorist networks, violent extremist groups, and potentially dangerous NSAs” to these factors.
In the early days of the pandemic, Interpol says terrorists used the virus to “reinforce their power and influence, particularly among local populations, (and) to expand external financial resources”. The agency’s secretary general, Jurgen Stock, warned that “terrorists – like all other criminals – have sought to profit from Covid-19 to make money, strengthen their base, and fuel division”.
The report also added that the weaponisation of disinformation and conspiracy theories is a “common denominator across all idealistic spectrums”, which groups exploiting the uncertainty of populations to radicalise new recruits to violent causes.
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