Magistrates and gendarmes better prepared to deal with methamphetamine trafficking in Burkina Faso

This activity was funded by the European Union

Dakar, 16 th August 2016- Since the mid-2000s, Africa has become a transit hub for international drug trafficking to Europe. Underground criminal networks have developed the capacity to adjust to law enforcement capabilities and the regional instability has facilitated illegal drug activities in West Africa. However, Africa has risen from a transit zone to a production and consumption zone. New more dangerous drugs have also appeared in West Africa.  

For a harmonized respond at a regional level, the project to " Support to ECOWAS Regional Action Plan on drug trafficking, organized crime and drug abuse in West Africa", fully funded by the European Union (Abuja Office), has been implemented and executed by UNODC in collaboration with member states of ECOWAS.

In the framework of this project, the UNODC Regional Office for West and Central Africa organized from 16 th to 19 th August 2016, a training in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in collaboration with ECOWAS. This workshop aimed at strengthening Burkinabe capacities to fight against drug trafficking, and especially on the " Operational strategies to fight against illegal methamphetamine trafficking ".

To this end, the training gathered members of law enforcement agencies and institutions, namely the Police, Gendarmerie, Justice and Customs. This aimed at ensuring a comprehensive to the threat and challenges dacing in dealing with methamphetamine production, transportation and consumption in the country. Mali, Niger and Guinea-Bissau have already benefited from similar activities led by UNODC trainers.

Group photo of the participants to the training workshop for Police, Gendarmerie and Customs in Burkina Faso ©UNODC/2016

In Burkina Faso, the evaluation conducted in Ouagadougou in April 2016 has revealed two concerning features regarding methamphetamine trafficking. Firstly, it is specifically harming the youth, which will pose major public health challenges in the decades to come. Secondly Nigerian networks of drug traffickers are involved in producing and distributing methamphetamine in Burkina Faso, further calling for a transnational answer to tackle efficiently methamphetamine trafficking.

Representatives from the Burkinabe government, the National Committee to Fight against Drugs ( Comité National de Lutte contre la Drogue) and UNODC experts all stated the importance of this training session which aims to effectively thwart illegal drug circuits as well as the circulation of new drugs which target primarily the youth in Burkina Faso.

On June 26, 2016, almost 20 tons of counterfeit medicines, cannabis and heroin were incinerated by Burkinabe authorities to celebrate the International Day against Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking.

More than twenty police officers, gendarmes and magistrates have attended this training and debated during three days. UNODC experts gave key takeaways in order to identify methamphetamine and its precursors, to acquire operational tools to conduct thorough controls of vehicles and mansions. The last day of the training was dedicated to elaborating a strategical action plan on how to involve national authorities to counter illegal methamphetamine trafficking in Burkina Faso.

Workshop Training for Magistrates and Gendarmes in Burkina Faso © UNODC/2016

UNODC has provided technical assistance to West African States for 20 years, through its Regional Office for West and Central Africa (ROSEN) based in Dakar, Senegal, along with the 10 other local offices in different countries of the region. Custodian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its Protocols, as well as the three conventions on International drug control, UNODC is mandated to assist all Member States to strengthen their national responses in conformity with international norms and standards.

For more information:

UNODC action against drug trafficking in West Africa

West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI)

Support Project to ECOWAS Regional Action Plan on illicit drug trafficking in West Africa

UNODC Sahel Programme