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IOM installing 10-digit fingerprint readers at Somalian ports of entry


The UN Migration Agency (IOM) has begun installing ten-digit fingerprint readers at the first two of eight Somalian ports of entry (PoEs) targeted to close loopholes in the country’s border management, according to an announcement.

With support from the U.S. Department of State, the IOM is setting up readers at the Aden Abdulle International Airport in Mogadishu, and Mogadishu Seaport. The IOM’s Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) is currently present at 16 PoEs in Somalia, some of which include single-digit fingerprint readers. MIDAS workstations across Somalia were recently upgraded to Version 4, providing a more advanced system with the capability to check fingerprint data from passport applicants to be checked against the Somalia immigration authority’s official database.

The new 10-digit fingerprint readers will also allow border officials to check data records against national and international alert lists for suspected criminals. Eventually, authorities hope to compare data captured at PoEs to the Mobile INTERPOL Network Database (MIND) and the Fixed INTERPOL Network Database (FIND), which store the biometrics of international criminal suspects.

Fluid movement of regular and irregular migrants is characteristic of Somalia, according to the announcement.

IOM will also provide training to officers from each PoE on the use, storage, and maintenance of the new fingerprint readers, as they attempt to prevent trafficking, terrorism, smuggling, and other forms of exploitation.

The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, launched a program to provide biometric identification for 1.4 million refugees in the country, some of whom are from Somalia, to ensure the effective delivery of aid and encourage contributions to under-funded relief programs.

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