Guinea Bissau army admits drug problem

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A senior military official in Guinea Bissau has admitted his country is being used as a base for international drug trafficking.

Navy Captain Induta was speaking at the end of a military operation launched by a particular battalion of the Bissau Guinean army, which aborted a suspected drug transaction in the areas of Madina de Baixo, Praia de Gã-Tumané, about a hundred miles from Empara Town in the region of Quinara.

The military operation which took place between 25th – 27th January, resulted in the arrest of four foreign nationals an Iraqi, a Tunisian, two Germans; and two Bissau Guineans, one of whom is a senior officer in the country’s Presidential Security Service.

The military chief disclosed that the operation was a result of a two-week regular surveillance of the Quinara region, following information indicating that an unidentified aircraft had been spotted flying in the area.

International drug cartels have taken advantage of the political instability, the high level of corruption within the state’s security apparatus and the poor level of control the country’s security has over its boarders to make it a base for operation and distribution of narcotics around the world.

A rather weakened state apparatus resulting from long civil wars has left Guinea Bissau largely unprepared and unfit to fight the more sophisticated groups of drug barons. In this regard, the country’s Army Chief of Staff said he was “aware that arrest and detention of suspected drug traffickers is not a mission assigned to military personnel”.

But he added, “The intervention of the army is a necessity as Guinea Bissau lacks adequate structures to cope with drug trafficking networks”.

He expressed regret over the involvement of individuals linked to the State.

Meanwhile, the two German nationals among the arrested have denied any involvement in the drug trafficking allegations and claimed to be journalists working with the German news service, Deutsche Welle. They argued that they were only in the country as tourist.



Sources: www.africanews.com and www.rnw.nl