Africa

Mozambique becoming a drug-trafficking hub - Interpol

Cocaine (file photo)
Image caption West Africa, rather than southern Africa, is more often associated with drug smuggling

Mozambique is increasingly becoming a hub for trafficking drugs from Latin America to Europe, Interpol warns.

Ronald Noble, secretary-general of the global policing agency, said Interpol would help the southern African nation fight the narcotics trade.

Mr Noble's visit to Maputo comes weeks after the US named Mozambican businessman Mohamed Bachir Suleman as a "drugs kingpin".

Mr Suleman denies the allegations and says he has no trafficking connections.

Under the Unites States' Drug Kingpin Act, financial sanctions are imposed on suspected drug traffickers and US citizens are barred from doing business with them.

"Interpol will send a specialist to Mozambique to train a working unit that will investigate drug trafficking," Mozambique News Agency quotes Mr Noble as saying after meeting President Armando Guebuza.

Last month, the US Treasury said that Mr Suleman was "a large-scale narcotics trafficker" and "his network contributes to the growing trend of narcotics trafficking and related money laundering across southern Africa".

The BBC's Jose Tembe in the capital, Maputo, says the government has said it has no evidence against Mr Suleman and has asked the US for help in its investigations.

The US authorities said Mozambique served as a trans-shipment point for narcotics such as "hashish, herbal cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and mandrax" most of which were consumed in Europe and South Africa.

In recent years, West Africa has been the major transit hub for smuggling cocaine from Latin America to Europe.

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