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.

 

Arab coalition deploys ‘limited’ force on ground in Aden

Syria army tightens crippling siege on rebel bastion

Terror threats against Jews: Israel warns and Tunisia denies

Closure of last overland route chokes off Lebanon exports

Rumour of Al-Duri killing breathes life into shadow of Iraq dictator

Lebanon security forces arrest IS-linked cleric

Recent disasters fail to slow tide of desperate migrants

Syria army launches offensive on rebel attacks in regime bastion

Istanbul under security lockdown on May Day

ICC will consider Palestinian war crimes too

Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker 'warns' America against Muslim immigration

Ban warns fuel shortages threaten Yemen relief operations

Iran trying to buy nuclear technology

Iraqi Kurd leader to meet Obama next week

Yemen rebels launch first major attack on Saudi

Sudan maintains balancing act with Saudi Arabia, Iran

Syria, Iran vow to step up fight against ‘terrorism’

Iran warships reach entrance of key Yemen strait

Iraq offers amnesty to personnel who fled ‘Islamic State’

UN envoy urges Israel to lift Gaza Strip blockade

France set to sell Qatar 24 Rafale jets

Mali peace deal tatters

Saudi-led coalition pounds rebels in south Yemen

Iran opposition leader: Tehran ‘godfather’ of IS

Saudi king concentrates power in his inner circle

Sadr threatens to attack US interests over budget provision

France increases defence budget in response to extremist threats

Hamas silences pro-unity protest in Gaza Strip

Turkey acquits all leaders of 2013 protests against Erdogan

Iraq seeks to counter IS propaganda victory in Anbar

After four decades, Prince Saud al-Faisal steps down as Saudi Foreign Minister

Sisi vows elections for 2015

Iraqi peshmerga leave Syria’s Kobane

Iran-Saudi war of words heats up

Bahrainis jailed, stripped of nationality, for 'terrorist acts'

Prince Mohammed bin Nayef named new heir to Saudi throne

Iran detains US cargo ship in Strait of Hormuz

Syria defence minister starts official visit to Iran

Qatar unveils world’s biggest environment project

Saudi Arabia foils suicide bombing against US embassy in Riyadh

Morocco arrests four people over 'burning alive' fatwa

Arab Israelis observe general strike over house demolitions

IS Libya killings videos haunts asylum seekers in Israel

UN blames Israel for Gaza shelter attacks

New rebel alliance ups the ante on Syria regime