Abu Dhabi, 30/06/2015 (SPS).- There are mounting concerns regarding the links between Moroccan drug barons and narco-jihadists linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, wrote yesterday Dr Abdelkader Cheref, professor at the State University of New York at Potsdam on the pages of Abu Dhabi's daily The National.
“As a UN expert put it: “There is an explosive coalition between drug traffickers, jihadists and corrupt politicians in Africa. The future of that continent and the security of Europe are at risk.”, adding that “generally, when networks of crime are established almost anything – from drugs to extremists – will use those paths”, he said in a post titled "Drugs threaten to overwhelm Maghreb youth".
The hashish route starts in the Rif Mountains and leads to Morocco’s eastern border with Algeria. Transit is facilitated by the payments of bribes to the many guards manning the roadblocks on both sides, professor noted.
Some of the drugs are destined for sale on European markets, but huge quantities of Moroccan hashish transit through the Sahara where so-called narco-jihadists, who control a triangle of no-man’s land between northern Mali and Niger, eastern Mauritania, southern Algeria and Libya, smuggle the shipments to Europe, the daily added.
Professor Cheref highlighted that “the growing traffic in kif (herbal cannabis) is also taking its toll on millions of young men and women in the Maghreb” highlighting that “according to a recent report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), cannabis resin seizures have increased considerably in Algeria, rising from 53 tonnes trafficked from Morocco in 2011 to 157 tonnes in 2012. By the time that 127 tonnes were stopped in the first eight months of 2013, Algeria had had enough”. SPS