International authorities step up efforts to combat organized crime in Mozambique. Because of its privileged location, the country is subject to illegal activities, such as the drug trade and human trafficking.
“Following the powerful tropical cyclones, which struck Mozambique in quick succession this past March and April respectively, terrorist and organized crime groups are taking advantage of the precarious situation for their illicit trade or recruit locals who are desperate to compensate for their losses,” reveals the
UN Office on Drugs and Crime representative in the country, César Guedes.
According to Guedes, the intensity of the action of the so-called terrorist groups has increased since January. The security situation worsened mainly in northern Mozambique, especially in the province of Cabo Delgado. More than 10 people were killed in the region, only in June.
UNODC has stated that it has been focusing on efforts to combat the growing threat of illegal trade on the East African coast.
In a statement issued in Vienna, the UN agency points out to issues such as the transit of West Asian heroin by the region and the departure, from Mozambican ports, of resources such as ivory and timber to Asian markets.
Southern Africa is considered a growing pole of this phenomenon, which consequences are classified by Unodc as “terrible for fragile economies”.
UNODC Executive Director Yuri Fedotov identifies Mozambique as a priority country for the rapid implementation of the response to challenges that threaten peace, stability, and security in the region. Among these threats are heroin transit, trafficking in natural resources, and action by terrorist groups.
Partnership with the Government of Mozambique
In April 2019, the United Nations agency trained Mozambican personnel to better control cargoes at sea and airports. Mozambique should soon create the Joint Interdiction Force of Airports to increase the capacity of Maputo International Airport to detect and intercept drugs, illicit goods and “high-risk passengers, including terrorists and foreign combatants.”
The head of Mozambique’s Central Office for Drug Prevention and Control, Pedro Comissário, welcomed UNODC’s efforts and presence in the country and reaffirmed the strong willingness of the authorities to increase cooperation in the future.
+ Last week, the Secretary-General of the United Nations visited a part of the region affected by Cyclone Idai. During the visit, António Guterres said that the organization would spare no effort to support Mozambique in addressing current challenges.