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Africa has seen disturbing increase in drugs - Interpol official

Oct 7, 2010, 12:53 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Chilika Simfukwe the head of Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organisation, in Harare, Zimbabwe, has told sub-regional delegates at the recently concluded meeting of ECOWAS drug law-enforcement officers that, over the past few years, the African region, like everywhere in the world, has seen a disturbing increase in the production, trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs.

The meeting held at the Jerma Beach Hotel was, among others, geared towards the development of a framework for regional cooperation and joint operation on drugs in West Africa.

He also declared that drug abuse destroys young lives, families and communities, adding that it impinges on the development of a people into civilised citizens of a progressive community.

"As responsible law-enforcement agencies committed to the dictates of morality, dignity and decorum, we cannot afford to bequeath the well-being of our prosperity for inheritance of zombies and drug addicts," he stated.

According to the Interpol official, the police today have to confront a new generation of criminals, who have the temerity or audacity to commit atrocious crimes such as murder, car hijacking, sexual offences and robbery all through the influence of drugs.

This menace, he noted, therefore calls for "concerted efforts and synergies by all law enforcement agencies to curtail its negative ramifications on our stable communities".

"The rapid expansion of information communication technologies (ICTs), such as the internet, has provided a rendezvous for drug syndicates to engage in their illicit activities beyond the prying eyes of law enforcement agencies".

"Likewise, the growth of the entertainment industry in the wake of growing stresses such as poverty, unemployment, migration, HIV and AIDS pandemic and weakened family support, have spawned a precedence of illicit drug production, trafficking and abuse," he noted.

Chilika Simfukwe further stated that drug trafficking occurs through the use of couriers, bags, detergents, sole of shoes, body activities, postal parcels, vehicles, containers, the swallowing of tubes/condoms and dried fish to conceal the smell.

He added: "Nationalities involved include locals and foreigners from member countries as well as South America. Of major concern to the African region is the rapid increase in the production and trafficking of Indian hemp, khat, heroine, and manufacturing of ecstasy and mandrax tablets in the backyard laboratories notwithstanding the efforts of law enforcement agencies to curtail the practice".

Such substances, he went on, are usually trafficked through the region destined for the Diaspora, where they fetch better prices in hard currencies.