Panafrican News Agency

Newspaper sheds light on extent of drug trafficking in Libya

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - Libya has since the revolution of 17 February 2011,  become a breeding ground for drug trafficking.

It has been transformed by drug traffickers into a transitional zone, taking advantage of the collapse of the security situation and state bodies, said the Libyan newspaper "Al-Wasat", citing the incredible seizure in early February of a quantity of Indian hemp.

To illustrate this phenomenon which has been spreading in Libya over the last decade, the newspaper quoted a UN report which exposes the methods of this drug trafficking, its stakes, routes and its scope.

Under the headline "This is how drugs are smuggled from Libya to Europe" the newspaper said that Libya remains the target of drug traffickers, who seek to turn it into a host or transit country, whether to southern countries or to Europe across the Mediterranean.

It said these illegal movements can only be contained with institutional stability, including security or military institutions.

The Libyan weekly, published in Cairo, Egypt, said that the fragile security and political conditions in Libya have made it a breeding ground for drug trafficking since 2011.

It cited the operation that took place on 9 February, when the Libyan Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Control Board announced the seizure of more than 300 packets of "hashish" in the north-east of the country, each of them bearing a photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The newspaper said that the drugs were found in the town of Al-Marj.

A few days earlier, the Al-Marj and Coast security directorates revealed that they had found a large amount of Indian hemp that had washed up on the region's coastline after a boat sank, probably from Lebanon.

Among some of the photos was that of Colombian drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, the newspaper reported.

Following the recent increase in drug gang attacks, which have been seen on the country's beaches and southern borders, the newspaper cited a meeting held last Friday of officials from the Anti-Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Agency in Libya, Niger and Nigeria to discuss cooperation between the neighbouring countries to deal with local and international drug gang attacks.

A recent UN report revealed, according to the newspaper, that Libya and its coasts are no longer only a departure point for migratory convoys to the other side of the Mediterranean, but have also become a major outlet for drug trafficking of all kinds. These include cocaine from Morocco or the Sahel regions, an issue that has become a challenge for all countries in the West and North of Africa.

A report published a few days ago by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and reported in the newspaper Al-Wasat, reveals the hashish routes from Morocco to Europe through the countries of the region.

The collapse of security in Libya since 2011 is one of the reasons for the increase in smuggling, as the security situation has made it easier for drug traffickers to reach Europe, according to the newspaper, citing the United Nations, which reports that 42 tonnes of cocaine were seized between 2019 and 2021.

The report said that cocaine is also produced and exported from Latin America by sea and also by air, to then enter the African continent through Guinea-Bissau.

-0- PANA BY/IS/BBA/MA 26Feb2022