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11.07.2005 General News

Terrorism has links to drug traffickers - IGP


Accra, July 11, GNA - Mr Patrick Kwateng Achemapong, Inspector General of Police, on Monday said the scourge of terrorism has links in several forms to the wealthy aprons of drug traffickers.

"I would like to reiterate the fact that drug trafficking is not an isolated national or regional problem," he said.

"It is a global phenomenon, which transcends national borders and affects every country in diverse ways," he said.

Mr Acheampong was speaking at the opening of the Seventh Heads of African National Drug Services meeting in Accra, which is a prelude to the 18th Interpol African Regional Conference, which would open on Wednesday.

About 35 African National Drug Services representatives are taking part in the two-day conference, which is on the theme: "Mapping up Strategies to Reduce the Production, Manufacturing, Distribution, Trafficking and Use of Illicit Drugs."

The Police Chief said drug trafficking affected every sphere of life including politics, economics and society.

Mr Acheampong said efforts to fight drug trafficking needed greater international cooperation through exchange of information, collaboration, and coordination between law enforcement agencies across the world.

He noted that as the drug traffickers became more sophisticated, so must sharing of intelligence information be cardinal to narcotic control agencies in efforts to clamp down on illicit drug producers. Mr Acheampong outlined some of the problems in gathering intelligence as unwillingness to share information, poor assessment of value and worth of intelligence, language differences and related translation, national and cultural prejudices, among other things. He, therefore, charged the participants to come out with workable formula that would enable African countries to overcome some of these obstacles.

Mr Acheampong noted that drug trafficking and abuse of narcotics drugs were increasingly being linked to various conflicts in Africa. "The ongoing conflicts and conflict situations that prevail in several African countries are conducive to increasing drug problems among the youth in particular."

Mr David Asante-Apeatu, Director of Criminal Investigations Department (CID), said the security agencies in the country were rigorously combating the menace of drugs. He said in Ghana, the mere illegal possession of a narcotic drug carried a minimum sentence of 10 years.

Mr Asante-Apeatu said cultivation and consumption of cannabis was prevalent in Africa and called for concerted efforts by Africa Heads of National Drugs Services to formulate strategies to reduce this trend. He noted efforts by the Police and the Narcotics Control Board in destroying cannabis farms in some parts of the country.

He noted that while some African countries had become producers of drugs others had become transit havens for the practice and urged all stakeholders to put resources together to fight the epidemic. Meanwhile the Police Administration has said that due to the recent London City bombings and the ongoing Interpol Regional conference in Accra, security had been beefed up across the country.

Reliable security sources told the Ghana News Agency that the public were being asked to cooperate in this direction. 11 July 05