Photo Credit: The Standard
By HALIMA JOBE
Gambia’s Minister of Interior, Seyaka Sonko, has announced his ministry’s commitment to dismantle organised criminal networks in the country.
Speaking at the commemoration of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking also referred to as World Drug Day, he said: “As a government, we will ensure that we capacitate and equip the Drug Law Enforcement Agency, The Gambia (DLEAG) to implement a balance strategy in solving the world drug problem in tandem with internationally recognised standards.”
Addressing the challenges of the drug situation in the midst of global health and humanitarian crises, Minister Sonko said they are determined to dismantle any organised ‘criminal’ network that may emerge in the jurisdiction.
“We will deal with any such group without negotiation to safeguard our youth from misery and the suffering caused by drugs,” he said.
The Interior Minister said his ministry would continue to intensify the drug demand reduction initiatives and programs.
However, he called on civil society organisations, youth groups, community-based organisations and all relevant stakeholders to complement government’s efforts and participate in drug prevention programs and initiatives.
“We also call on the public to be vigilant and report suspicious drug related or criminal activities to law enforcement officers. It is only through collaboration and collective participation that we can make our communities safe, secure and drug free,” he added.
At the national level, he said the (DLEAG) registered one thousand six hundred and ninety-eight (1698) cases involving one thousand six hundred and ninety-nine (1699) accused persons from 2020 to date.
The agency seized more than 6 tons of cannabis, close to a quarter ton of hashish, almost 3 tons of cocaine and a significant amount of controlled and prohibited drugs ranging from diazepam, clonazepam, ecstasy, methamphetamine, skunk, kush among others for the said period.
“The country’s only psychiatric hospital also reported a significant increase in the admission and treatment of drug induced psychosis cases. It is therefore paramount that as we commemorate this day, that we collectively work towards combating misinformation, increasing public awareness and dismantling criminal syndicates,” he concluded.