Hijack plane lands in Kenya
By BBC, | 2008
At night from 12 to 13 September a hijacked airplane with crew on board has landed at BVC Airport in Kenya after leaving Guinea Bissou. After landing, the hijacker fired shots at owner of BVC Barthe Cortes and one at himself. On board the police found 400 kilograms of drugs. Hijacker's dead, Barthe Cortes is in very serious condition. Details of the case are kept confidential, as Interpol carries on an investigation in partnership with Guinea-Bissau.
Alarm at rise in Guinea-Bissau drug trafficking Drug trafficking gangs shipping South American narcotics to Europe are using the tiny West African nation of Guinea-Bissau as a transit centre, drawn by the cash-strapped government's lack of capacity to tackle the problem, UN officials warned yesterday.
A five-day mission led by the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in West Africa, Antonio Mazzitelli, found that the Bissau government's weak border security had attracted international criminal networks to Guinea-Bissau.
"Guinea-Bissau does not have the capacity to monitor its borders," leading to a dramatic rise in criminal activity, Mr Mazzitelli said at a press conference on Friday. Last October, Guinea-Bissau's top drug enforcement official told the UN media 'IRIN' that the country was the main West African transit point for drugs passing illegally to Europe.
The former Portuguese colony is ranked 172 of 177 countries in the UN's Human Development Index. The cash-strapped government has no coast guard, police have no cars and the navy no boats for patrolling national waters where scattered tiny islands make a haven for smugglers.
Even if criminals are caught, there are no high security prisons to house them, police chiefs complain. Mr Mazzitelli said that the prisons that he had visited were "practically inhuman", with prisoners bundled in cramped cells without electricity or water.
Guinea-Bissau police chief, Quintino dos Santos, said that detainees are often released days after being arrested, as even the police consider cells too harsh to inhabit. Prisoners in Guinea-Bissau have to rely on food deliveries from family members because the prison service does not have money or facilities to feed prisoners, Mr dos Santos explained.
Guinea-Bissau's Justice Minister, Namuano Dias, who accompanied the UN mission in their investigations, said the government would like to do more to tackle criminal gangs and drug traffickers. "The country has the will to tackle this problem, but we lack the means," he said, appealing to the international community for assistance.
Funds don't seem to be a problem for the drug cartels.