Gambia remains target for drug trafficking, authorities warn

Monday, July 23, 2018

Bakary Gassama, the director general of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency The Gambia (DLEAG) has hinted that The Gambia is a target of Drug Trafficking Organisations who are taking advantage of her strategic location to both South America and Europe as a drug trafficking route.

“There are indications that the country can be used as a transit point for drugs coming from South America and some parts of Africa to the targeted markets in Europe and U.S.A. Therefore, it is imperative to prepare well in terms of both human capacity and equipment to respond adequately to the illegal and clandestine activities of these organisations,” he said.

Gassama was speaking on Friday at a local hotel in Bakau during the closing ceremony of a two-week training on Criminal Intelligence Analysis for operatives of the DLEAG, State Intelligence Service, Gambia Immigration Department and Officers of The Gambia Police Force. The training was organised by United Nation Office on Drug and Crimes with funding from German government.

“Therefore, the efforts of UNODC in preparing The Gambia with the requisite capacity to better respond to the security needs of our people is highly commendable. In this vein, DLEAG is closely working with our counterparts in Senegal to sign an operational memorandum of understanding which will serve as an instrument of coordinated action against trans-national crime and drug trafficking particularly.”

The Drug Control Act, he said, is currently undergoing a review and overhaul. The objective is to merge the act with international standards and best practices. It will cater for strategic approach to international cooperation including mutual legal assistance and extradition as well as the recovery and confiscation of criminal assets.

The German consular in The Gambia, Ms Anita Martin said the training course on Criminal Intelligence Analysis is part of a project funded by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and implemented by UNODC with the aim to enhance national capacities, to detect and investigate cross-border organised crime in The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal.

“We hope this training has strengthened your law enforcement capacity but also served as a forum for best practices sharing and further collaboration among agencies,” she said. “In this manner, your respective specialized units will ensure a multiplied impact across all Gambian law enforcement agencies, and make it harder, riskier and costlier for criminal networks to proliferate both within the sub-region and externally.”

“It is vitally important to help people to help themselves not only to support sustainable development, but also for the sake of stability and security. Training programmes such as these are a valuable contribution to our efforts to enhance African partners’ capacity to encounter serious crimes and boost sub-regional, regional and international cooperation,” she stated.

Mr. Kodjo Attisso, UNODC regional adviser, said these activities are part of the project aiming at enhancing national capacities to detect and investigate cross border organised crime in The Gambia and other countries.

Author: Momodou Jawo
Source: Picture: Bakary Gassama DG , DLEAG