First Published: 2011-09-15


Mali security forces hunt desert drug traffickers belonging to Polisario Front


Dispute over ferrying tonne of cocaine and hashish between drug dealers from Mali, Niger, Polisario Front through desert leaves four killed.


Middle East Online

Terrorism and drug trafficking join ranks

BAMAKO - Malian security forces on Wednesday were hunting a group of drug dealers from Mali, Niger and the Polisario Front ferrying a tonne of cocaine and hashish through the desert, a top Malian army official said.

"We have deployed the necessary troops to track a ton of drugs and the traffickers who have turned part of the Malian desert into a drug market and corridor," said Lieutenant Moussa Diakité from northern Mali.

Diakité said the drug consignment had led to a dispute between two drug networks, one from the Sahel made up of Mali and Niger traffickers, and one from the Sahara with traffickers linked to the Western Saharan independence movement Polisario Front.

A government source said on Tuesday that four people were killed in the desert between Mali and Algeria in a clash between the rival gangs, who did not agree on how to share the spoils from their haul. The same source noted that the traffickers’ photos had been obtained and distributed in the region.

Gangs of drug traffickers, some with ties to the local Al-Qaeda branch and Polisario Front, ply their trade in the vast desert through Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger, with drugs passing through camps in Western Sahara, experts say.

The Polisario Front, supported by Algeria, has demanded that a self-determination vote be held in the territory which Morocco occupied in 1976 after Spanish colonists withdrew. Morocco is only ready to offer greater autonomy.

Posirario’s refugee camps have become hotbeds of drug trafficking and recruitment of al-Qaeda fighters in North Africa.

The war raging in Libya between Moamer Gathafi loyalists and rebels raised concern in the region due to leakage of large quantities of weapons to the gangs that control the remote desert areas.

Tensions have risen between Libya’s National transitional Council and Algeria after rebels captured 556 mercenariesof the Polisario Front movement, who have been fighting for Moamer Gathafi.


Corbyn criticised over Syria air strike rejection

Turkey protests against journalist arrests

Turkey seeks to ease tensions with Moscow

Tunisia to rethink anti-IS strategy

Saudi women begin first-ever election campaign

Russia prepares retaliation against Turkey

Cameron pushes for Britain to join Syria air strikes

Erdogan denies buying oil from IS

Lavrov says no war with Turkey after 'planned provocation'

Tunisia under state of emergency

Missing Iranian diplomat found dead in Saudi

Heavy Russia raids at site of Syria plane crash

Tunisia declares state of emergency after terrorist attack in heart of capital

Bahrain calls HRW torture report 'misleading'

Syria, Russia foreign ministers set Moscow talks

Rival Libya tribes sign peace deal to end months of fighting

Turkey reveals new cabinet of Erdogan allies

Turkey downs Russia Su-24 fighter jet on Syria border

Hopes fade away as Sudan peace talks break without deal

At least 6 dead in Libya bomb attack

Somali pirates seize Iran fishing boat with 15 crew

ISIS suicide bombers kill four in assault on Sinai hotel

Kerry visits Israel with scant hopes for major breakthrough

Hollande heads to Washington to seek support for war on ISIS

Brussels extends terror alert as US issues worldwide travel warning

UAE blames Islamists for delay in military operation in Taez

Egypt kills 5 Sudanese migrants near border with Israel

Anti-Muslim hate crimes rise 300 percent in Britain

Russia eases restrictions on nuclear cooperation with Iran

Gulf leaders to hold annual summit on December 10

Ex-Gathafi Minister arrested over murder of UK policewoman

UK boosts military spending as pressure grows to join anti-ISIS strikes

Israel bars Palestinians from West Bank settlement bloc

Iraq suspends northern flights due to danger posed by Russia missiles

Syria army advances against ISIS in central province of Homs

Pro-Kurdish leader escapes assassination attempt in Turkey

Tunisia group claims beheading of young shepherd on behalf of ISIS

Kerry arrives in Abu Dhabi for Syria discussions

Three Palestinians killed as fresh violence hits West Bank

Iran arrests ISIS-linked cell near Iraq border

Brussels remains on high alert for second day in a row

Israel seeks to strip citizenship of those who join ISIS

France warns Libya as ISIS gains ground

Fear escalates as ISIS edges closer to Syria Christian town

Iran sentences reporter Jason Rezaian to prison