Bissau president in US drugs case

2013-04-09 07:33

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dakar - Guinea-Bissau's caretaker president may have co-operated with the planners of a doomed cocaine-and-weapons smuggling scheme meant to arm Colombian rebels, according to US court filings reviewed by Reuters on Monday.

The documents cast a shadow on international efforts to restore order in the tiny West African state, which has suffered a string of coups since 1974 independence and which has since become a transshipment hub for narcotics bound for Europe.

US prosecutors filed indictments against Guinea-Bissau's former navy chief, Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto, and six other men late last week after trapping some of them in a daring sting operation off its Atlantic coast.

According to the indictments, the men planned to bring 4 000 kg of Colombian cocaine to Guinea Bissau inside a shipment of military uniforms and then smuggle weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, back to Colombia's FARC rebels for use against American anti-drugs forces.

The filings state that one of the chief conspirators in the plan, described only as a "high-level official in the Guinea Bissau Military", told undercover agents in July he would discuss the plot with President Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo.

"The day after tomorrow, I'll talk to the President of the Republic," he is quoted as saying in the indictment, filed in New York's Southern District Court on Friday and since made public.

Two other suspects told undercover agents at a meeting in Bissau in September they would speak with the "President and the Prime Minister" about the deal, according to the documents.

"Guinea Bissau government officials would, as a fee, expect 13% of the cocaine," a separate unnamed suspect told the undercover agents, according to the documents.

A spokesperson for Nhamadjo denied Nhamadjo had any knowledge of the plot, adding: "None of this is true. It makes no sense."

He said Nhamadjo was in Germany for medical treatment but was due to return later this week.

Nhamadjo was named transitional president in Guinea Bissau in May in a deal struck between West African regional leaders and the military commanders who seized power in a coup a month earlier, derailing elections.

The European Union and the CPLP grouping of Portuguese-speaking nations have refused to recognise his administration, claiming he remains under the influence of military leaders with links to the drugs trade.

Nhamadjo has denied the claims and has urged international support and funding for elections.

Na Tchuto's arrest by US drugs agents has raised fears of an outburst of violence between Guinea-Bissau's rival military factions, who have repeatedly clashed in what observers suspect is a struggle for control of the drugs trade.

Na Tchuto has been involved in several failed coups in the former Portuguese colony and was one of two Bissau-Guineans designated as drug kingpins by the US government in 2010.

Other people indicted include Colombian nationals Rafael Antonio Garavito-Garcia and Gustavo Perez-Garcia - both suspected narco-traffickers arrested in Colombia on Interpol warrants.

Guinea-Bissau is rich in natural resources - including minerals, cashews and some of the world's best fisheries - but political instability has hindered investment and kept most of its 1.6 million people mired in poverty.

Read more on:    manuel serifo nhamadjo  |  guinea bissau  |  west africa  |  narcotics
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/Beauty
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.