- Guinea's top officials are in for questioning in capital Conakry after a plane allegedly carrying cocaine landed and took off from eastern town of Boke yesterday. The Governor, mayor and top police officials were arrested.
The aircraft which landed at Boke airport at 0400 hours on Thursday is suspected to have come from neighbouring Guinea-Bissau, a state which reports have indicated runs a risk of being a narco-state with value of drugs being trafficked greater than its entire national income.
Drugs have become a general security issue in West Africa with narco-dollars altering already weak economies of the region.
United Nations estimates that at least 50 tonnes of cocaine are shipped through West African region every year.
Cocaine smuggling by Latin American drug lords with assistance of senior government officials, is rife in the region, fanning political turbulence and undermining investment confidence in West Africa. Drugs experts go further to say Latin American gangs threaten to transform small nations into narco-states.
In a separate raid on the same day, Conakry police and soldiers swooped on a truck, allegedly loaded with cocaine and cannabis though quantities seized were not revealed.
In July, close to 1, 200 kilograms of cocaine was seized in Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau, prompting donors and aid agencies to establish judicial police, a unit mandated to fight drug trafficking in West Africa. The unit received US$3.2 million from United Nations for equipment and training to combat the crime.
Government of Guinea-Bissau has expressed its commitment to unravel drug scandal, vowing that it would not succumb to death threats on the lives of Justice Minister and Attorney General.
In August Sierra Leone president Ernest Bai Koroma announced urgent plans to impose stiff penalties on drug traffickers, after a major cocaine bust where drugs worth millions of US dollars were confiscated.
There have been concerns by regional and international bodies that Guinea-Bissau and other west African states run risk of being overtaken by drug cartels and becoming a "narco-state". Analysts said government's lack of resources has been failing its efforts to confront the menace.
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