Maputo (Mozambique), 17 December 2020 – On 17 December 2020 at the Polana Serena Hotel in Maputo, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) — acting with the generous financial support of the government of Japan — delivered a commitment to provide additional funding for operational fuel to the Director General of the National Criminal Investigation Service of Mozambique (SERNIC).
The year 2020 has seen a continuation of the shift south in trafficking patterns for heroin departing from the Makran Coast of the Gulf of Oman toward Africa. There has been a notable increase in heroin and other dangerous narcotics, including methamphetamine, heading toward the north of Mozambique, potentially funding terrorist activity. This was a trend that only increased with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which created barriers to overland and air travel and made maritime movements of both legal and illicit cargo more important.
In parallel, there has also been increase in investigative capability within Mozambique, led by SERNIC. Through its increasing focus on these new threats and expanded efforts in the types of regional and international coordination required to counter transnational criminals, including cooperation through the Trilateral Strategy with neighbouring countries, SERNIC has been developing increasing amounts of actionable information on illicit trafficking.
An outcome of this combination of shifts in trafficking and enhancement of investigative capacities meant there has been an unanticipated requirement for additional fuel to carry out precisely targeted interdiction operations at sea. Just as this need was becoming apparent, the secondary economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic made the requirement even more urgent and complicated to meet. As a result, UNODC’s commitment of funding for additional fuel should help SERNIC counter illicit trafficking and work toward a more secure and prosperous future for Mozambique and its neighbours.