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DRUG SYNDICATES OVERRUNNING AFRICA


A new UN report Africa Recovery says Africa is a major transit route for Asian drug traffickers, who are shipping narcotics to the west. The report also says the rise in drug activity is contributing to social decay on the continent. It warns of increased violent crime, corruption and bank fraud. According to Dagmar Thomas of the UN drug control program, heroin and cocaine are the main drugs being shipped from Asia - through Africa - to Europe and the united states. At the moment, heroin arrives to the West is mainly via East African ports, but also increasingly through the airport connections with couriers that use body smuggling and stuffing methods. The other big heroin route is through West Africa. South Africa, however was identified as the main cocaine route into the West
According to Ms Thomas, these drugs are significantly cheaper in all the African countries studied than in the West. The main constraint to its availability to users these countries is not high prices but low incomes. As such, many users without the income to purchase the drugs naturally revert to crime to finance their addiction. Drug trafficking through Africa is also blamed for a rise in organised crime. For example, UN and south African studies show there are at least 136 drug syndicates in South Africa, 76 of which operate internationally. The syndicates are also linked to other criminal activities, such as car-jackings and the theft of precious stones, diamonds and endangered species. The Organisation of African Unity (OAU), and the Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS), have put together action plans to deal with this growing menace and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), is close to doing so as well. The action plans call for greater regional and international co-operation in law enforcement.
The UN Agency says that Africa, besides being a transit route, now has a growing domestic narcotic industry, mainly in growing cannabis and khat, with Morocco and South Africa being the main producers of cannabis. However, other countries are beginning to increase their production to supply international drug traffickers or to ship to neighbouring
countries. As for khat, the plant with narcotic properties is not yet subject to international control, but is widely used in some African countries.
 
 
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