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Last Updated: Monday, 12 November 2007, 17:36 GMT
G Bissau media 'gagged' by narcos
Cocaine (File pic)
Guinea-Bissau is one of the major drug transit hubs in West Africa
The press freedom group, Reporters Without Borders says that Guinea-Bissau is a putative narco-state where news of the cocaine trade is a national taboo.

In a report, the group says there is evidence that some of the military are linked to the drugs trade.

Journalists who dare to investigate the cocaine trade, have faced death threats, been forced into hiding or have even fled the country, it says.

And it details specific instances of press harassment by senior officers.

Researchers for RSF visited Guinea-Bissau last month and spoke to officials, journalists and human rights activisits.

Amongst the evidence they collected, their report quotes Guinea-Bissau's national interpol director Carvalho Aucarie as saying "on an individual basis certain Guinea-Bissau officials strike deals with drugs traffickers".

Military harassment

The NGO notes that it is not only journalists who are struggling to find out the truth.

Even the justice minister has reportedly received death threats.

Guinea Bissau navy officer
Journalists investigating the cartels report harassment by the military

The judicial police possess no handcuffs and just one vehicle - posing little threat to the drug cartels.

Guinea Bissau has a troubled history of coups and army mutinies.

The current President Joao Bernardo Vieira was himself toppled by the army eight years ago.

Whilst some people quietly claim that members of the government benefit from the drug trade, it is also possible that the government fears confronting the military because this could unravel further violence for the country, say the BBC's West Africa correspondent Will Ross.

While the warnings for the future of the country are getting louder, he says, it seems the journalists are far safer if they stay quiet.

SEE ALSO
G Bissau 'to shoot drug planes'
31 Aug 07 |  Africa
Africa - new front in drugs war
09 Jul 07 |  Africa
Country profile: Guinea-Bissau
21 Jun 07 |  Country profiles

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