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Fighting against illicit drugs in EAC : burundian worries

  1. Basoodler
    View attachment 30412 Trafficking and consumption of illicit or banned drugs is a reality in Burundi. The proof is a hundred of persons tracked and jailed. To control and eradicate the phenomenon is the preoccupation of the anti-drug security unit.

    “Most of the consumers of the illicit or banned drugs are among the youth under 24 years. They are between 14 and 24 years. Among them, boys come in the first place. But, this doesn’t mean that girls are spared. Prostitutes consume a huge quantity rather than others because they want to fight against a beat,” says Augustin Nzambimana, president of “Réseau Burundais Anti-drogue et ses mefaits” or Burundian Anti Drug Network (RAM).

    Among the drugs, there are some which are made for women while others are for men. Moreover, Nzambimana continues, for the most apprehended drugs, they are generally administered through the oral, nasal ways or by injection.

    “The most consumed drug is the vodka made in Burundi. It is not very expensive. The price of one bag costs fewer than three hundred Burundian francs. The latter is favored by street children. For them, getting drugs is an emergency in order to bear harsh living conditions the majority finds themselves into,” the president of RAM explains.

    Nzambimana’s explanation is shared by Dismas Ntakibirora, officer at the anti-drugs security unit in the Ministry for Public Security.

    Trafficking and consumption of the illicit or banned drugs is a reality in the country.

    “The proof is there are hundreds of people apprehended and jailed attesting to the reality of this scourge. Among detained people, young people constitute the large majority. Alcohol bags are more favored than other forms as they are still very cheap”, adds Ntakibirora.

    Brown sugar (powder), Kanyanga (prohibited local alcohol), alcohol bags, fuel, ubugoro (a sort of powdered tobacco), cannabis (leaves), cocaine, are the most consumed drugs in Burundi. Augustin Nzambimana mentions that they are coming from border countries like Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo but they can also be found in Burundi, especially in the different drugs are fostering in the Imbo and Mugamba regions.

    “Drugs consumption destroys health and constraints development”

    According to Augustin Nzambimana, the causes of the consumption of the illicit or banned drugs are multiple.

    “Stresses, physical resistance for prostitutes, prestigious and bad groups of friends, poverty, trauma and influence of the foreigners, are some reasons pushing some young people to consume drugs. Given that we are coming over a crucial period of war, many young people had resorted to using banned drugs”, Nzambimana says.

    Since 2010, RAM, has taught and advised 1869 consumers of the illicit drugs.

    “In partnership with PRIDE project and Yezu Mwiza Service, over 60 per cent people have been sensitized on the consequences of drugs and they accepted to voluntarily take on HIV/ AIDS tests,” Nzambimana brags about.

    The president of RAM goes on saying that consumption of drugs affects and destroys health but it also hinders human development. “The consumption of the banned drugs affects the nervous system. Once they are consumed, drugs take action in the brain. Cancer, pulmonary toxicity, and insomnia are also diseases caused by the disturbing drugs”, Nzambimana informs.

    In his views, a drug addiction center is needed in order to reeducate and control those consumers.
    Nzambimana’s suggestion is shared by Ntakibirora : “Hundreds of people apprehended by the police security units are in custody. Normally, the place for drug consumers is not in prison in a health clinic for treatment. On the one hand, they become potential consumers. The best would be to set up a center in order to treat them for alcohol abuse”, Ntakibirora continues.

    “There is no smoke without fire”

    According to Augustin Nzambimana, the number of consumers they receive in RAM inform on the situation prevailing in the whole country.

    “Our RAM has access to only ten communes of Bujumbura capital city. The lack of funds does not allow us to reach other areas. We try to do our best but without help we can’t achieve anything,” states Nzambimana.

    For him, the government should engage to teach people laws applicable in cases related to the consumption of the illicit or banned drugs.

    Burundian anti-drugs security unit tries to control everything which gets in the country : “Our control focuses on looking after any entries to ensure that there aren’t illicit drugs. But there is no smoke without fire. There cannot be drug consumption without drug trafficking. By this time, we have already arrested consumers but also traffickers must pay attention because once they are caught, they must pay for all the mistakes they have made,” Ntakibirora says.

    But, in his opinions, he says fighting against illicit drugs cannot succeed with the sole strength of anti-drug police, but it is necessary to join efforts and work in synergy : “Parents, administration, government, all the people must play an important role”, wishes Ntakibirora.

    “The consumption of drugs has a very bad effect on all domains of the life. If today, there are acts of violence in the country, drug consumption can be said to be one of the triggers of that situation”, explains Nzambimana.

    For him, all Burundian partners must emphasize or focus on fighting against drugs if they wish to promote other sectors of the country.

    According to Gabriel Nizigama, public security Minister, in their work, to control and eradicate this phenomenon, Burundi‘s security forces are on the good way.

    “Tracking the traffickers and illicit drugs consumers is the daily job of our security agents, and the results are satisfying. Not only, all transportation cars must be controlled to see if they are not trafficking drugs, but leisure cars are also chased after and tightly inspected,” Nizigama recalls.

    In his view, the lack of a legal disposition is a big challenge to fight against drug trafficking.

    Par Diane Uwimana
    samedi 15 décembre 2012



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