Thursday, July 21, 2022

Africa’s ‘narco-state' Guinea-Bissau

The country’s Supreme Court overturned the convictions of two alleged drug kingpins – Seidi Ba, a citizen of Guinea-Bissau, and Ricardo Monje, a Colombian. They had been sentenced to 20 years in connection with the 2019 seizure of 1.8 tonnes of cocaine. It was, until recently, the largest ever drug bust in Guinea-Bissau.

After a five-hour gunfight at the government palace in Guinea-Bissau, President Umaro Sissoco Embaló declared that one of the assailants, three civilians and seven security were killed.
Embaló pointed the finger at traffickers. The “failed attack against democracy was well-prepared and organized and was related to people involved in drug trafficking” Embaló said. The nation’s military plays a role in politics, including coups, the most recent of which was attempted this spring. The military has also participated in narcotics trafficking. The term 'narco-state' implies the free flow of drugs through national ports protected by official collusion. In 2018 at least 30 tons of cocaine entered the country, all bound for Europe.
The former Portuguese colony was beset by instability since its independence in 1974. It has staged at least nine coups. The economy was weakened by fall in demand for cashew nuts, which account for 90% of exports.
In 2013 a New York grand jury indicted Gen. Antonio Indjai, then the nation’s Army chief of staff, on charges of trafficking Colombian cocaine and providing weapons to anti-government insurgents there. He had seized power during the 2012 coup. He was sacked in 2014. Indjai, who the US government called “one of the most powerful destabilizing figures in Guinea-Bissau” when it put up a $5m reward for his arrest, lives freely in Bissau. He is thought to be behind the latest attempted coup.
See ----->Guinea-Bissau: Africa's 'narco-state'