The United States is training special units of anti-narcotics police units in Ghana and may soon do the same for other countries in West Africa and in Kenya reported today’s edition of the New York Times, citing U.S. administration officials and documents.
According to witness accounts, training programs are tied to the fear that the suppression of smuggling in some areas of Latin America is pushing traffickers to focus on small and weak countries in West Africa such as Guinea-Bissau.
“We consider Africa the new frontier in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking,” said Jeffrey Breeden, head of the U.S. Drug Agency Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) division for Europe, Asia and Africa . In May, Breeden was in Ghana and Liberia to establish the Initiative for security cooperation in West Africa, a project in Washington’s intentions should involve 15 countries on the example of what has already happened in Central America.
According to The New York Times, agents of the DEA are not yet participating in the operations of the African anti-drug units. The newspaper does, however, understand that this could happen in the future, in light of United Nations data concerning the strategic role now being played by West Africa as a transit point for cocaine from Latin America and bound for Europe.
According to public data, Washington’s anti-drug program funding has increased seizures by seven and a half million dollars in 2009 to 50 million in 2010 and 2011. In short, writes the New York Times, the DEA will open an office in Senegal. The Department of Defense also is working with Cape Verde to the creation of a regional center for the identification and seizure of vessels carrying narcotics.