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Thread: The Gulf of Guinea and West Africa: a new focal point?

  1. #21
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    The first comprehensive account if the situation in Guinea-Bissau I've seen, by a group of blog reporters, partly based on the recently published US court documents:http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/0...y-allegations/
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    David,

    You know we have meth labs in Lagos now?

    I'm told the meth is for export.

  3. #23
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    King Jaja,

    Meth labs in Nigeria, even if for export, is a bad sign. I rely on the anecdotes given to me when out with US LE a few years ago in Montana. To my knowledge 'meth' is virtually unknown here in the UK. Is South Africa the market for the producers?
    davidbfpo

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    Default Meth Labs in Lagos

    It is VERY serious, FIVE labs have been discovered JUST THIS YEAR.

    David,

    Authorities in Lagos have discovered the fifth illegal methamphetamine production centre in just one year, deepening fears Nigeria is a narcotics hub and part of a worldwide network.

    The anti-drugs agency says the West African country is producing meth on a large scale.

    The highly addictive drug is known by several names, including meth, ice and crystal. It is usually injected, but it can also be smoked or inhaled.

    Mild doses can increase alertness and concentration, but high doses can cause psychological problems including paranoia and hallucinations.

    Nigeria used to be a transit point through which illegal drugs from Mexico passed on their way to Europe.

    Mitchell Ofojeyu, a spokesman for the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency, said: "They have an international network because they're bringing in Bolivians into West Africa to produce Methamphetamine; [it] shows the synergy the drug cells in West Africa have with their counterparts in other regions of the world."
    http://www.aljazeera.com/video/afric...354435412.html

  5. #25
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    Default There is hope for Guinea-Bissau?

    Hope, good intentions, internal and external pressure on this 'narco-state' have resulted in:
    Political, military, and civil society leaders have agreed on a new transition deal, according to which elections should be held by November this year, a new head of the national election commission appointed, and a new, more inclusive, interim government formed.
    Link:http://country.eiu.com/article.aspx?...70377511&uid=1
    davidbfpo

  6. #26
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    Default Piracy at sea and ashore

    A Reuters report on West African piracy, which lays much of the blame on Nigerian gangs, as illustrated by this passage:
    Nigerian pirates can make in 10 days what Somalis make in 10 months....It's easier to offload oil to the local black market than negotiate ransom with foreign ship owners.
    The usual references to greater regional co-operation, with external (EU) funding for coastguard training. When as a speaker at IISS last week remarked:
    The main OCG is the state.
    Another contributor pointed to the huge diversion under-way in Nigeria of oil, which can only be explained by systematic and widespread collusion, including purchases by the international oil companies. IIRC 10% of production was missing.

    Link To Reuters:http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...0BIAJ520130529

    Link to IISS talk on West African crime and development:http://www.iiss.org/en/events/events...velopment-98fd
    davidbfpo

  7. #27
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    Default A situation out of control?

    A commentary by RUSI, a general overview, with one new item (highlighted below) and ends on a rather pessimistic conclusion:
    While the consequences of the Arab Spring and the spectre of terrorism has renewed the international community's interest in West Africa, and tackling organised crime in the region remains a priority for European member states, the increasingly visible crime-terror nexus points to a situation out of control.
    The new item, with my emphasis:
    Late last month, UK Border Force officials seized cocaine valued at over £17 million at the Port of Tilbury in Essex. While the value of the drugs is not the largest on record, what makes this particular seizure of interest is that the drugs are believed to have been smuggled via Senegal to Europe by an Al-Qa'ida affiliated group. If confirmed, this will be the first time an Islamist terrorist group has attempted to ship a considerable amount of Class A drugs directly to Europe from West Africa and is a significant step for Al-Qa'ida in the Maghreb (AQIM) in terms of both funding and operations. Officials believe the cocaine was part of a major deal between AQIM and FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) who provided cocaine in return for weapons the Islamist terrorist group had procured - possibly from Libya. The seizure of such a large volume of drugs suggests a transnational network not seen since FARC and the IRA collaborated in the early years of the last decade.
    Link:http://www.rusi.org/analysis/comment...5193598A7994E/

    No-one else appears to have considered the apparent linkage between AQIM & FARC - well in the public domain. Tilbury is one of the UK's busiest container ports, with not infrequent seizures before of cocaine. The method for this shipment was to put six holdalls atop a load of tin alloys from Senegal, with a tarpaulin over the container and cargo seals in place - a load in transit to Belgium:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-22251528
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-01-2013 at 08:19 PM.
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  8. #28
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    Default A resource to check?

    The website of the West African Commission on Drugs (WACD):
    The Commission comprises a group of distinguished West Africans from the worlds of politics, civil society, health, security and the judiciary.
    Link:http://www.wacommissionondrugs.org/
    davidbfpo

  9. #29
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    A bit more detail on the DEA's sting off Guinea:http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/0...96N0AR20130724

    Moderator at work

    With the reported growth in piracy off West Africa a new thread was started 21st October 2013, 'West African piracy: an old problem escalates' and eight maritime / piracy posts have been copied from this thread to there (ends).
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-21-2013 at 09:24 AM. Reason: add mod's note
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  10. #30
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    Default Guinea moving up

    An update by Reuters on Guinea which starts with:
    A surge in cocaine trafficking has transformed Guinea into West Africa's latest drug hot spot, jeopardising President Alpha Conde's efforts to rebuild state institutions after a military coup and attract billion of dollars in mining investment.
    Link:http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/0...A0U0FY20140131
    davidbfpo

  11. #31
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    Default Nigerian piracy ‘a major threat’ to seafarers and the UK economy

    The UK Chamber of Shipping, clearly an interest group, has published a report and in summary says:
    Most people are aware of pirate activity off Somalia, but lawlessness in the Gulf of Guinea is a major threat to our seafarers, the UK’s energy and trade security, and to the economic development of the region. Nigeria and other states in the region have known for 30 years that piracy was a problem, but too little has been done and enough is enough.
    Some figures cited:
    • In the past decade, 45 seafarers have been killed and 459 seafarers have been held hostage
    • There is at least one attack per week on a ship operating in the region, but up to two thirds of attacks are believed to go unreported
    • In 2013, 60% of attacks took place in Nigerian territorial waters and there is a trend for increasing violence within attacks
    • Around 12% of the UK’s crude oil is imported from Nigeria, and by 2050 the region will hold 25% of the world’s oil production
    • Around 5000 vessels, of all nationalities, call at Nigerian ports every year
    • Nigerian statistics shows that 300,000 barrels of oil are stolen every single day

    On a very quick read there is no reference to seeking Royal Navy help, rather direct payment to local navies / coastguards can help.



    Link to press release:http://www.ukchamberofshipping.com/n...w-study-shows/ and the nine page report:http://www.ukchamberofshipping.com/m...-july_2014.pdf



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  12. #32
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    Default Next year we'll be there

    Well is this rhetoric or reality time will tell.

    The SA Navy will deploy warships on Africa’s west coast as far north as the Gulf of Guinea. The deployments, early next year, will involve frigates and possibly submarines Johannesburg daily, The Times, reported. Ships of the Namibian and Angolan navies will also take part in the operation to combat pirate attacks. Oil tankers have been the pirates' preferred targets.
    Link:http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.ph...ity&Itemid=233

    Yes a small number of oil tankers - with product, not crude oil - have been attacked and recently there was an attempt a long way offshore from Nigeria.

    Open sources do not suggest either Angola or Namibia have a navy beyond a few patrol vessels.
    davidbfpo

  13. #33
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    Default Guinea-Bissau struggles to end its role in global drugs trade

    A rare article on this West African country, with a hopeful sub-title:
    Poverty, political instability and weak institutions allowed South American cocaine cartels in, but with US and UN help the country is trying to fight back
    Link:http://www.theguardian.com/global-de...al-drugs-trade
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  14. #34
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    Default The Sahel: north-west Africa’s security weakest link

    A broad overview:
    In addition to terrorism, the Sahel faces a host of thorny intertwined issues, which if not dealt with could plunge the region into chaos.
    Link:https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-a...y-weakest-link
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  15. #35
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    Default Update

    Hat tip to WoTR for this short overview of AQIM activity in West Africa, the catalyst being the attack on a beach resort, Grand Bassam, in the Ivory Coast:http://warontherocks.com/2016/05/bey...african-coast/

    Not to overlook two earlier attacks in Bamako and Ouagadougou.

    Being close to the ground, my words, the authors draw attention to:
    Predominantly young men, these migrants travel to littoral West Africa to work as laborers on commercial farms or as petty traders. Abidjan and Accra possess teeming neighborhoods of foreign-born migrants, many of whom spend seven to eight months a year in these urban areas before returning to their home villages in time for the annual harvest.
    davidbfpo

  16. #36
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    Default West Africa -v- China: not football, fishing

    The maritime dimension of China's presence around Africa has not appeared here before IIRC, but this diplomatic act may change matters:
    Officials from 24 African countries met in Cameroon last month and called for China to stop illegal fishing off the West African coast.
    Greenpeace in 2013:
    reported that the number of Chinese fishing boats operating in African waters soared from 13 in 1985 to 462 in 2013. The report said there were 114 cases of illegal fishing over an eight-year period in the waters off Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone. It said the boats were operating without licenses or in prohibited areas.
    Link:http://atlantablackstar.com/2016/01/07/24-african-countries-ban-china-from-fishing-illegally-in-their-waters/?

    I was unaware that Chinese trawlers were active in the Gulf of Guinea and adjacent seas; although they have been reported, if not hijacked off the Somali coast.

    The report suggests the fish are offloaded locally and have caused havoc amongst local economies.

    It maybe interested to see how this activity develops. China has made some investments in the region, IIRC far less than East Africa (railways and oil).

    The main thread is: China's Expanding role in Africa:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=2164

    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-26-2016 at 11:42 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    The maritime dimension of China's presence around Africa has not appeared here before IIRC, but this diplomatic act may change matters:Greenpeace in 2013:
    Link:http://atlantablackstar.com/2016/01/07/24-african-countries-ban-china-from-fishing-illegally-in-their-waters/?

    I was unaware that Chinese trawlers were active in the Gulf of Guinea and adjacent seas; although they have been reported, if not hijacked off the Somali coast.

    The report suggests the fish are offloaded locally and have caused havoc amongst local economies.

    It maybe interested to see how this activity develops. China has made some investments in the region, IIRC far less than East Africa (railways and oil).

    There are two relevant threads: China's Expanding role in Africa:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=2164 and The Gulf of Guinea:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=11204

    This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to China's exploitation of Africa and Latin America. Either Argentina or Chile recently sunk a Chinese fishing boat that was fishing illegally off their coast. China has a lot of hungry mouths to feed, so food security is leading it into a confrontational mode with many countries.

  18. #38
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    Bill,

    It was the Argentine Navy that sank a Chinese trawler, in March 2016. I note other Chinese vessels were nearby in this report, with video:https://navaltoday.com/2016/03/16/vi...-fishing-boat/
    davidbfpo

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    A detailed overview of Mauritania via online 'World Politics Review', so it maybe behind a registration wall - so an experiment to post here.

    A taster:
    Mauritanian politics and society have been perennially buffeted by the storms of racial tensions, ethnic cleavages and political volatility.
    Link: http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/a...stability-hold
    davidbfpo

  20. #40
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    Default Still a narco-state? Guinea-Bissau's illegal drug economy

    A rare, first-hand report on the situation by a freelance journalist; sub-titled:
    Guinea-Bissau has long been labelled a narco-state. Today it is likely that the West African country continues to be a major hub for cocaine. The losers in the drug deals are its citizens.
    She ends with:
    Decades after Guinea-Bissau’s hard-won battle for freedom from colonial rule, the country is still barely functional, kept from collapse only by the presence of international agencies, and constantly at risk of state capture by drug gangs. The next year, which is supposed to include parliamentary and presidential elections, will be crucial in determining where the country goes next. But, for now, Guinea-Bissau remains a country on the edge.
    Link:http://globalinitiative.net/guinea-b...-drug-economy/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 2 Weeks Ago at 12:35 PM. Reason: 48,345v
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