|Africa News Digest
Islamic Terrorists in Bed with FARC in Africa
Dec. 29 (EIRNS)Investigative consultant and author Douglas Farah, in an article on his website, www.douglasfarah.com, has pointed to the growing alliance between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) narcoterrorists and the Islamic terrorist networks in North and West Africa, generally identified as al-Qaeda in West Africa. He described the protection of cocaine shipments through the trans-Sahel region by a combination of criminal and terrorist networks, including al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The drugs are flown from Colombia, via Venezuela, to West Africa, then to expanding European-Central European-Asian markets, he said. Farah is a coauthor, with Stephen Braun, of Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible, a book on Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
The FARC now has an operational presence in West Africa. As a result of a sting run by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in which operatives posed as members of the FARC, Farah said, we have the first hard evidence of AQIM offering to protect large cocaine shipments transiting the region, and claiming to have already provided such protection. Three suspectsbelieved to be in their 30s and originally from Maliwere arrested in Ghana and are associates of al-Qaeda's North African branch. They told DEA informants that al-Qaeda could protect shipments of cocaine in the region, driving the drugs by truck through the Sahara Desert before eventually bringing them to Spain, U.S. authorities said.
Africa has become a trans-shipment zone for the global narco-trafficking cartel. According to Interpol, East Africa is a key entry area for Southwest Asian heroin. These supplies are serviced by eastern and western African-based trafficking organizations, as well as Southwest Asian criminal groups operating out of India and Pakistan, and, more recently, Afghanistan. These organizations rely to a large extent on commercial air flights, using both human couriers and air freight to conceal heroin consignments. The extent of maritime activity remains uncertain, Interpol noted. There is also evidence that a number of these organizations deal in the trafficking of other controlled substances, such as cocaine obtained in South America and cannabis produced in Africa. East African groups are responsible for moving Afghan heroin to markets in the United States and Canada, usually using human couriers, Interpol's report concluded.