Malian authorities make record seizures following UNODC specialized training
Malian law enforcement authorities recently seized a record amount of illicit drugs, confiscating over 2.7 tons of cannabis herb in Bamako, Mali, in May 2016. This seizure represents one of the many results brought about by UNODC and MINUSMA's joint efforts to strengthen the capacities of national authorities to counter drug trafficking and transnational organized crime.
According to Sadio Mady Kanouté, Head of the Communications and Public Relations Division of the Office Central des Stupéfiants - Mali's centralized drug control institution - "the multiple training sessions delivered by UNODC, and in particular those related to concealment methods and general knowledge on drugs, allowed making this record seizure."
This operation also resulted in several arrests in both Bamako and Accra, Ghana, where the drugs came from, affording law enforcement agencies a better understanding of the networks in charge of such international drug trafficking rings. The investigations uncovered that the driver of the vehicle aboard which the drugs were intercepted received an amount of 150,000 CFA Francs (roughly USD 230) per trip between the two capitals, a sum well above the average monthly salary of many in the region.
According to the Head of the Malian Police anti-drug squad, Chief Superintendent Mohammed Ali Awaissoun, the April 2015 specialized training delivered by UNODC allowed the squad to "obtain the necessary methodology for carrying out drug seizures and intercepting traffickers...Since then, there has not been a single month without seizures."
What is more, the increase in the size and frequency of such seizures since the April 2015 training does not only concern illicit drugs, but also other forms of transnational criminal activities, such as wildlife and forest crimes. Chief Superintendent Aiwassoun's teams recently discovered illicit possessions of ivory in the form of rhino horns as a result of drug related investigations, showcasing the effectiveness of the methodological tools delivered through UNODC technical assistance.
This training took place in the framework of a training programme that UNODC implements through its Sahel Programme, in collaboration with the Department for Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations (DPKO), its Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and the United Nations Police (UNPOL) to strengthen the capacities of Malian Police forces, the Gendarmerie and the National Guard on terrorism, drug trafficking and gender-based violence, among others.