Littoral: Drug Trafficking Takes Toll

Several arrests of perpetrators, crackdown of gangs and seizures of cannabis from traders and farmers inform on the scale of the various traffics in the economic capital.

Douala’s myriad of insecurities are not unrelated to drug use and drug abuse. The Littoral is a region with the highest level of trafficking of illicit drugs such as cannabis, methamphetamines, unauthorized tramadol, cocaine, benzodiapines, diazepam and legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohol.

Teenagers and youths over 15 years of age consume cannabis and tramadol, according to a security source. School authorities and security forces have severally seized drugs in school, reason why focus during this year’s youth week activities on the profile needed to qualify for jobs in companies.

Several arrests of traffickers, crackdown of gangs and seizures of cannabis from traders and farmers inform on the scale of the various traffics in the economic capital. There have been reported seizures of huge quantities of cannabis and the destruction of cannabis farms.

Most of these activities usually go unnoticed until the wake of growing insecurity with attacks from Boko Haram and terrorism in the South west and North West regions and the security situation in the East Region as effects from conflict in the Central African Republic.

In one of his recent talks on the theme: « The phenomenon of drugs, how to get young people out of the trap,” Ibrahim Mubarak Mbombo, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Islamic Programme for Humanitarian Assistance (PIAH), established the link between drug use and serious crime, noting that drug is the most effective fuel of terrorism.

« Terrorist and organized crime members need drugs to ensure the prosperity of their activities, » he noted.

He cited the main traffic areas in Douala: the Central Market, not far from the corridor where the plastic bottles collected in the garbage cans are reconditioned; the Ndogsimbi, along the railway line, a place where « the bags and purses turned from the Ndokoti junction are dumped »; and lastly, the Makea neighbourhood.

Most often religious bodies and public institutions have tried to set up measures to dissuade defaulters and encourage social insertion of youths, such as offer financial incentives for the cultivation of alternative crops and many agricultural programmes that the Littoral is benefitting (ACEFA, PRODEL, PAJERU, and PIAASI).

Most of the cannabis farms identified and destroyed by security forces are very often big, measuring over three hectares. In response to the problem posed by drug trafficking and use of narcotics, the President of the Republic in October 2014 signed a decree creating and organising the functioning of anti-trafficking units in the various international airports of the country.

Two anti-traffic units set up at the Douala and Yaounde airports were officially inaugurated on October 6, 2016. The goal of these two structures co-financed by the European Union as part of the “Airport Communication Project” (AIRCOP), then by Japan is to fight against drug trafficking and other illegal activities in the airports.

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