- A Mauritanian court has sentenced the Police Commissioner Sid’Ahmed Ould Taya to seven years in prison for trafficking of cocaine in the country.
Local reports said those arrested including a police chief had tried to build a desert runway to import cocaine. Some of those convicted were sentenced to hard labour and fines, on top of the jail terms.
Reports said the men were allegedly planning to send hundreds of kilos of cocaine to Europe disguised as a fish shipment.
News reports indicated that a total of 14 people were jailed and 18 acquitted.
Because of the weak states of some West African countries and high levels of poverty, drugs cartels often bribe officials to let them operate indiscriminately in the region as most senior officials bend the rules and accept the large sums of money as handouts by the drug dealers.
In 2008, some 20 tonnes of cocaine passed through West Africa worth about $1 billion, the United Nations said.
The drugs trade through West Africa grabbed headlines in 2007 after a series of seizures of hundreds of kilos of cocaine were made in the region alongside a spike up in violence.
Guinea-Bissau, the landing point for most of the cocaine, saw a string of political assassinations that analysts say was linked to the drugs trade, and the notoriously brutal military in neighbouring Guinea was also believed to be involved.
But now West African nations are sounding the alarm over new trends of increased domestic drug use that could boost theft, gang violence, and health problems.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.