Cocaine smugglers cash in on political struggle in Guinea-Bissau
Islamist militants are thought to be tapping into drug money to finance operations in the region
Bissau — A political feud in the sleepy capital of Guinea-Bissau is threatening to push one of the world’s poorest countries back to being a haven for gangs smuggling cocaine into Europe and open the door to Islamist militants. Today the only sign of the crisis is an armoured vehicle of African peacekeepers next to the Portuguese colonial palace home of President Jose Mario Vaz, who is involved in a bitter power struggle with his own party, known as PAIGC, and has fired six prime ministers since he took power in 2014. Instability has wracked the West African nation since independence in 1974, and no president has finished his term since the first multiparty elections in 1994. The political deadlock prompted foreign donors to suspend at least $1.2bn in aid and weakened a state plagued by rampant corruption. That has made the coastal nation ripe once again for drug traffickers who more than a decade ago began using it as a hub for Europe-bound cocaine.
“A prolongation of the cri...