Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - Africa is no exception to this phenomenon, as the battle over the Caribbean (cocaine) and Pakistani (heroin) routes has led drug traffickers to relocate their trade routes to Africa (and then Europe) since the early 2000s.
According to researchers from the Italian research center “Centro Studi Internazionali”, the major global criminal organizations on the continent "have found both an expanding market due to the increase in local drug use and a pool of sufficiently specialized underworld labor. In this context, the coasts and ports of West Africa have become hubs of transatlantic drug trafficking, particularly cocaine trafficking, which originated in neighboring South America and via this route to Africa and then reached Europe".
It is a continuum that ranges from small organized criminal groups that are structured in large and fluid networks, through small and medium-sized criminal groups, to organizations that develop into true mafias. There is also the particular case of the Sahel, where there is overlap between jihadist or insurgent organizations and criminal organizations.
There are also extensive drug movements in East Africa. This was foreseen 20 years ago in a study carried out by Luca Clochiatti in collaboration with the Comboni missionaries in the Kenyan slum of Korogocho. The study documented the presence of more than 20 different types of drugs (cannabis, miraa, cocaine, heroin, glue, mandrax), many of which were very cheap (10/20 cents). This was taken as a sign that Kenya was no longer just a transit area, but could become a place of consumption. And that's how it turned out. According to estimates by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC), around 42 tons of heroin are in transit through Kenya and are increasingly going to local users, the number of whom has doubled in the past three years.
This year, the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report highlighted the central importance of the routes in the southern Indian Ocean calling at ports in Kenya and Tanzania. In Tanzania, around 300 kilos of heroin were confiscated in April of last year and a total of 5 tons of marijuana in August 2020. Another problem that should not be underestimated is corrupt police officers. The Kenyan government, the researchers say, has made some efforts "to address the problem, including continued support for the National Police Service's internal affairs department, which is dealing with drug corruption among the ranks of the police force". As they say in Kenya, "penye nia ipo njia", where there is the will to fight drug trafficking, there is also a way. (F.F.) (Agenzia Fides, 7/8/2021)