Gao (Mali), — Western Sahara Polisario separatists are involved in drug and arms trafficking for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a Malian customs source was quoted on Tuesday by the AFP as saying.
A Western Sahara Polisario group composed of Malians, Nigerian and Algerians is currently reorganizing itself through “specializing in car renting and transports, routing and notably ‘private custom clearance’ of drug convoys,” Oumar Ould Haby a Malian customs official told the AFP.
These Western Sahara Polisario elements smuggle hashish to the Sahel and are involved in cocaine trafficking from the region toward Europe, he said.
This group is also involved in cigarette trafficking and smuggling in addition to transporting would-be immigrants to Europe, he noted.
“At the current pace, the Sahel will no longer belong to states, rather to traffickers and Al Qaida,” warned Oumar Ould Habi, saying that drug traffickers are taking advantage of the Libyan crisis.
Several Western Sahara Polisario members and officials in uniform were recently arrested in Mali for their involvement in the trafficking of over 1 tonne of drug, the same source recalled.