Friday, July 6, 2012

Burning to curb Gambia’s drug habit

Gambia's Drug Squad destroys illicit drugs/PHOTO: Modou S. Joof
Gambia’s National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) on Tuesday set ablaze 3 tonnes, 15 kilos and 47 grams of cannabis, 8 kilos and 2 grams of cocaine, and 20 grams of heroin. 

Held along the Old Cape Road on the outskirts of the Town of Bakau on July 3, 2012, the agency said the exercise is meant to show seriousness in the fight against illicit drugs.

It is customary that when drugs cases have been successfully dealt with in courts, the agency would organise a public drug destruction exercise, according to Dr Abubacarr Senghore, Chairman of NDEA Board of Directors. 

He said it is also demonstration of the Gambia’s efforts to ensure the country is drug-free.
NDEA’S Executive Director, Benedict Jammeh said Gambia as a nation has an uphill task in the fight against drugs. These drugs (being destroyed) were not found in a foreign country. It was all seized in The Gambia from citizens and non-citizens.
Gambia's Drug Squad destroys illicit drugs/PHOTO: Modou S. Joof

This, according to Jammeh, continues to be of grave concern in The Gambia, saying it compelled the NDEA to wage a “persistent campaign” on all fronts to curb this social vice.

It is the duty of all of us to be vigilant so that collectively we can wipe out drugs from the face of this country, and for prosperity, he said in the presence international representatives of the United States, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Taiwan and the World Health Organisation. 

Allowing young people to peddle in drugs and drug cartels to traffic in our neighborhoods is counter-productive and dangerous, he added.

Cocaine bust, estimated to worth $1 billion, June 2010, Banjul.
In 2010, the first public manifestation of the Gambia becoming a transit point for cartels trafficking drugs to Europe and South America, was the discovery of more than two tonnes of cocaine (worth $1 billion) at Bonto, a village in the Kombo East District of the West Coast Region.

On Tuesday, the NDEA executive director told diplomats, security personnel and journalists the two tonnes of cocaine is not being destroyed due to its huge concentration.

Its concentration is 85 per cent, it is “too huge” to burn in an open air space, Benedict Jammeh said, while explaining that the agency is working with its partners to procure an incinerator for the destruction of the two tonnes of cocaine. 

“Once the incinerator is available, the public will be duly informed of the destruction of the two tonnes of cocaine,” he said. 

War on drugs failed

Written by Modou S. Joof 

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