BANJUL — Gambian President Yahya Jammeh warned drugs traffickers Wednesday that his country would not be used as a transit point for their trade, as is increasingly the case in west Africa.
Addressing a passing-out ceremony for 1,400 young army recruits in the capital Banjul, Jammeh said: If you want to deal in drugs, the uniform is not yours.
Yes, west Africa is becoming a major transit point for drugs but Gambia would be an exception, Jammeh said.
If you know that you are a drug dealer, be it my uncle or my mother, the best thing for you is to leave this country or else I will deal with you very well, he said.
Gambia is among the countries in west Africa increasingly targeted by South American cartels to transit cocaine into Europe.
Two weeks ago authorities in the tiny west African country seized more than two tonnes of cocaine with a street value of roughly a billion dollars (835 million euros) and arrested 15 people suspected to be engaged in the trade.
Jammeh said in March there would be zero tolerance for drug-trafficking after 11 senior officials were arrested as part of a drug probe.
Among the charges, the justice ministry said at the time, was that the officials had told lies to members of the public that the President of the Republic of the Gambia had engaged them to sell prohibited drugs for him and give him the proceeds.
On Wednesday the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its 2010 World Drug Report which said trafficking routes have shifted to areas like West Africa with disastrous consequences.
People snorting coke in Europe are killing the pristine forests of the Andean countries and corrupting governments in West Africa, said UNODC executive director Antonio Maria Costa.
24 June 2010
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