Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – West Africa is one of the largest producers of cannabis and it is also a transit point for drugs trafficked from Latin America and the Caribbean into Europe, Pierre Lapaque, representative of the UN Office against Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said in Dakar on Friday.
Speaking at a joint press conference organized by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Senegalese customs during the publication of results of the Cocaine Route and Operation (COCAIR IV), Mr. Lapaque stressed that it would be difficult to fight against consumption of cannabis in the sub-region because the climate is well suited for its cultivation.
The COCAIR IV operation has targeted cocaine trafficking from South America and Africa into Europe.
According to the results of the COCAIR IV operation carried out in 2013, nearly 100 seizures were made in 30 African international airports including 181 kilograms of cocaine, 1,700 kilograms of cannabis and 40 kilograms of methamphetamine.
Mr. Lapaque called for humane treatment of drug addicts, especially the youth, who were considered to be vulnerable
“Of course, we must combat drug trafficking, it’s obvious. But we must also be ready to support African youth,” he said.
“The young drug addicts should be treated to prevent their situation from impacting negatively on the fate of future leaders in the sub-region,” he said.
The COCAIR IV operation was initiated by the WCO in collaboration with the United Nations Office against Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the European Commission and Canada.
It was funded by the European Commission and Canada over a period of nine days (from 26 October to 3 November, 2013).
Countries which took part in the operation are Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo, Côte d’ Ivoire, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Dominican Republic, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Chad and Togo.
The COCAIR operation started in December 2008 with a total of 13 seizures in 2010. During the second operation, 22 seizures were reported and 44 seizures made during the third operation in 2011.