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Africa

French cop chosen as Interpol's first-ever woman chief

media Mireille Ballestrazzi, Interpol's first-ever female boss AFP/Gabriel Bouys

Interpol on Thursday elected a French police commissioner as the first woman to head the international police body. Mireille Ballestrazzi is known for battling organised crime in Bordeaux and on the violence-torn island of Corsica.

Interpol, whose headquarters is in the French city of Lyon, announced the choice at its general assembly in Rome on Twitter.

Ballestrazzi, 58, became a police commissioner in France in 1975 and was already vice-president for Europe on Interpol's executive committee.

She is particularly well known for her time as director of judicial police in Corsica in the 1990s at a time of fierce turf wars on the island.

Her efforts have not prevented the island becoming Europe’s murder capital.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who attended the Interpol assembly earlier this week, said Ballestrazzi was "a great policewoman".

"She is one of the women who are the pride of the French police," he said.

Valls said her experience fighting organised crime would serve her well in the battle against drug trafficking, mafias from southern and eastern Europe and political violence that requires a coordinated international response.
 

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