Security Council voices "serious concern" over drug trafficking, crime in Guinea-Bissau

08:41, July 23, 2010      

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The UN Security Council on Thursday expressed its serious concern over the growth of drug trafficking and organized crime in Guinea-Bissau, and called upon local authorities to take action in tackling the issue.

Uche Joy Ogwu, the Nigerian UN ambassador who holds the rotating Council presidency for July, made the remarks when delivering a presidential statement at the end of a Security Council meeting on Guinea-Bissau.

The proliferation of drug trafficking and organized crime " threatens peace and security in Guinea-Bissau and in the sub- region," said the statement.

On April 1, troops under the command of the current army chief of staff, Major General Antonio Indjai, orchestrated a coup detaining Vice Admiral Jose Zamora Induta and, briefly held Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior.

The events of that day continued as armed troops forced into the UN offices in the capital of Bissau, demanding the release of naval chief Rear Admiral Bubo Na Tchuto who had been living under protective asylum in the UN compound.

Following the April coup, persistent political instability and threats to constitutional order have undermined efforts toward national reconciliation in Guinea-Bissau.

Due to the latest in a pattern of destabilizing military interventions in the country's 35 years of independence, the Security Council stressed the need to reform the security sector.

In remarks to the press, the Council president called upon the government authorities to "create the necessary and essential environment for peace and security in Guinea-Bissau."

"In particular, (the Council) urges the military to make all efforts to subordinate itself to civilian constitutional authority, " added Ogwu.

In light of recent revelations implicating key military and government actors in drug trafficking, the 15-member Council expressed repeated concern over the country's fragile state.

Ogwu stressed that drug trafficking in Guinea-Bissau presents a triangular situation, "the consumer, the producer, and the transit -- all of this have to be taken together in a holistic manner in order to deal effectively with the problem."

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has characterized drug trafficking as a "serious threat to governance and stability" in Guinea-Bissau and in the entire region of West Africa, whose countries have become transit hubs for cocaine.

The UNODC's 2010 World Drug Report highlighted the cocaine trade's significant impact on Guinea-Bissau, where traffickers have been able to penetrate the highest levels of government and the military.

"The drug trade seemed to be quickly monopolized by the military, controlled by top-ranking military officials. These officials have threatened all who dare to discuss their involvement," noted the report.

The Security Council also recognized the shared responsibility of states where drugs are produced, consumed, or transited "to take measures to hold accountable those who engage in, or facilitate drug trafficking through Guinea-Bissau."

Source: Xinhua


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