10 Dec 2009

Link revealed by UN between drug trafficking and terrorism

6:01 am on 10 December 2009

The United Nations says the discovery of a crashed plane in Mali carrying cocaine from Venezuela has revealed a link between drug trafficking and terrorism.

The head of the UN drugs agency, Antonio Maria Costa, has warned that a sub-Saharan region of Africa, known as the Sahel, has become a new centre for drug trafficking, and the trade is helping to fund rebels and militant groups.

The BBC reports the wreckage of a Boeing 727 was found in Mali last month with up to 10 tonnes of cocaine from Venezuela on board.

Mr Costa told the UN Security Council that 50 - 60 tonnes of cocaine were trafficked every year across West Africa while another 30 - 35 tonnes of Afghan heroin was being trafficked into East Africa every year.

The security council has adopted a statement voicing concern about the impact of the African narcotics trade and calling for stronger regional co-operation in the fight against illegal drugs.