UN council urges Guinea-Bissau to free detainees


The UN Security Council urged Guinea-Bissau to release or prosecute prisoners detained over an April army mutiny and demanded that the government help combat the country’s narcotics trade.

The 15-nation council voiced “serious concern” about the increase in drug trafficking in the tiny country on the coast of West Africa, which UN officials say has become a hub of the drug trade between Latin America and Europe, reports Reuters.
“The Security Council calls on the government of Guinea-Bissau to release immediately all those detained in the events of 1 April 2010 or prosecute them with full respect for due process,” the council said in a nonbinding statement.

Council members also urged Guinea-Bissau’s rulers to return the country to civilian control and expressed “concern at the current security situation and threats to constitutional order.”
“The Council calls upon the authorities of Guinea-Bissau to create the necessary environment to ensure that actions to tackle drug trafficking and organized crime, including actions supported by the international community, are effective,” they added.

Last week, the United States said it could not help in international efforts to reform the country’s armed forces unless they were purged of suspected leaders of the growing West African drug trade.

Washington has already named two senior Guinea-Bissau military officers as drug kingpins.

UN special envoy to Guinea-Bissau Joseph Mutaboba described the April 1 mutiny as “defiance toward the international community” and has said civilian authorities have yet to establish control over the armed forces.