Saturday, June 6, 2020

Guinea-Bissau: Africa's 'narco-state'

The loot seized in Guinea-Bissau's largest ever drug bust last September included more than 20 vehicles, $3m, $90k worth of wine and porridge found in a warehouse, and 1.8 tonnes of cocaine hidden in sacks of rice. Operation Navara culminated in 12 men being arrested. They were sentenced to between 4 and 16 years in prison last month. The US, along with the UN, labelled the former Portuguese colony along the Atlantic Ocean a narco-state a decade ago.
Former navy chief Bubo Na Tchuto is one high-profile official to have been convicted of drug trafficking. Involved in several failed coup attempts, he was designated a "drug kingpin" and was arrested in a sting in 2013. The military has been influential in Guinea-Bissau since independence from Portugal in 1974. It has staged at least nine coups. This has made the country a fertile ground for drug barons.

Braima Seidi Ba has evaded capture.

Ricardo Ariza Monje is thought to have returned to Latin America.
Drug traffickers are entrenched in the country. Newly installed President Embaló replaced the policing chief, but after concerns about the nominee he gave the post to a respected former deputy attorney general, Teresa Alexandrina da Silva. Drugs remain a "pernicious injection" into Guinea-Bissau's domestic politics.