Police in Senegal are investigating the largest ever drug bust in the West African nation. Several tons of cocaine have been seized and four South Americans and three Senegalese arrested in the seaside region of Mbour. Naomi Schwarz has more from Dakar.
More than two tons of cocaine have been seized by Senegalese police since last Wednesday, in the biggest drug bust in the county's history. The police have also arrested seven men, including four foreigners, in connection with the drugs.
Para-military police commander Moussa Fall says these seizures and arrests are the product of ongoing investigations in the fight against drug trafficking.
He says the men arrested had long been under surveillance, but the discovery of more than a ton of cocaine on a boat near the seaside city of Mbour gave police the hard proof they needed to make the arrests.
The boat was deserted when police boarded, and had apparently suffered from mechanical difficulties.
The arrested men were found in possession of Kalashnikov and Beretta rifles, a satellite navigation device, and foreign and local currency.
Information from the first three men arrested led to the discovery of a second trove of more than a ton of cocaine, stashed in a private home.
Fall says the arrests and seizures strike a strong blow to drug traffickers in West Africa.
He says he thinks this will discourage others involved in the drug trade. But he says investigations are ongoing and he expects a long road before Senegal can consider the fight against drug trafficking over.
Anti-drug organizations, such as the United States Drug Enforcement Agency have said that West Africa has more and more become a transit point for drugs from South America, en route to Europe. Governments struggling in underdeveloped countries do not have the capacity to effectively patrol their coastlines and drug traffickers are increasingly taking advantage.