Maria Vaz Lopes Mendes, the director general of The Judiciary Police of Guinea
Bissau, has disclosed that during a joint operation conducted between Gambia,
Senegal and Guinea Bissau, human traffickers who were with three children were
arrested and 20 stolen vehicles were recovered.
“We arrested three young boys with human traffickers at the border between Senegal and Guinea-Bissau during a joint operation,” she said, adding that 20 stolen vehicles from Italy that came through Gambia and were designated to Guinea Bissau were also recovered during the operation.
She was speaking to journalists at the sidelines of signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the three countries designed to combat drug trafficking, organised crimes and other related issues. The signing of the MOU was held at the Senegambia Beach Hotel on Friday.
She said the MOU is very good as it will enable them to work with their partners in terms of joint operation and sharing of information among themselves.
Idrissa Cisse, the director general of the Office Central de Re’pression du Trafic Illicite de Stepfiants (OCRITS) of Senegal, said the MOU has a very positive impact because it will allow their operational units at the borders to share information and undertake joint operations.
“Our countries are united by geographic and historic ties and traffickers didn’t know borders. They go beyond borders without thinking of Senegal, Guinea or Gambia. So we have some cases that we’re investigating and those cases are in other countries. Therefore, there’s need for us to work together if not, we can’t combat drug trafficking.”
He added that: “We are having traffickers coming all over the world, especially from South America with cocaine and that they are using the route.”
Bakary Gassama, the director general of Drug Law Enforcement Agency, The Gambia (DLEAG) described the MOU between the three countries as paramount, adding that without the MOU they cannot make progress.
“We all know the consequences of drug trafficking, in fact it is the backbone to all crimes. In most instances most crimes committed in many parts of the world are under the influence of drugs even in our own country.”
Gassama maintained that Gambia is still a transit point for many drug traffickers, pointing out that it’s because Gambia can be used to travel to any part of the world.
He said for the past 22 years, The Gambia has been isolated especially DLEAG. “We had no partnership internationally then. Even before the change of government we made all efforts but to no avail because of the bad governance that was in place.
Valentina Pancieri, UNODC law enforcement expert, reaffirmed their commitment to supporting the three countries to combat drug trafficking and its related issues.