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British High Commission supports NDEA in fight against illicit drugs

Oct 25, 2012, 9:42 AM | Article By: Yusuf Ceesay

The British High Commission in The Gambia yesterday handed over a specialized incinerator machine to the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) to boost the agency’s fight against illicit drugs at a ceremony held at the NDEA’s Holgam office in Kanifing.

The donated equipment, built and designed in the UK, is expected to give the NDEA the capacity to destroy large seizures of drugs such as the two tonnes of cocaine seized in The Gambia in 2010 in a joint operation between UK and the Gambian law enforcement agencies.

In addition, the British High Commission also presented a 4x4 Opel Frontera to the NDEA to tackle the problem of drug trafficking in the hard to reach up-country regions of The Gambia.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony, George sheriff, deputy British High Commissioner to The Gambia, said providing the NDEA with specialized incinerator will enable them to safely dispose of illegal substances, and help create a safer Gambia and safer UK by countering the drug traffic routes which run into Europe.

Noting that the British Government is committed to close cooperation with the NDEA, deputy Commissioner Sheriff said drug trafficking is a shared threat to both the UK and The Gambia.

According to him, Europe is the main market for drugs that are trafficked through West Africa, and where the drugs routes go, so does the problem of drug use.

The British diplomat further noted that it is in the interest of both the NDEA and his High Commission to fully cooperate on these important issues.

Benedict Jammeh, Executive Director of the National Drug Enforcement Agency, said the event comes in the wake of frank discussions between the NDEA and the British High Commission relative to the commitment of the two institutions in the war on drugs.

Noting that the NDEA does not doubt the British High Commission’s commitment to complement the government efforts in the fight against drugs in The Gambia, Benedict Jammeh underscored the giant strides made by his agency in the fight against drugs.

“One of the key constraints have always been how to destroy large quantities of drugs,” he added.

“At the moment, we have large quantities of cocaine that we have to destroy and without an incinerator, that is going to be a herculean task for us,” Mr Jammeh noted.

According to him, the gesture is a fitting testimony of the fact that the fight against drugs can never be won by the NDEA alone, noting that it requires a collective cooperation.

While commending the donors for what he described as a laudable gesture, Benedict Jammeh assured them that the donated materials will be well-kept and put into good use.

“With the incinerator around, the public will be duly informed when the cocaine would be destroyed,” the NDEA boss assured.