‘‘The fear is that if we don’t act and act in time, this phenomenon will become a serious cankerworm,’’ Atefor warned.
The Central Africa Regional Interpol Bureau has been working with various country police and customs departments to merge and coordinate intervention strategies, reinforce databases on the movements and activities of suspects and encourage prompt information sharing to facilitate the tracking down of traffickers.
Officials say the work is paying off gradually. ‘‘We try to share information, intelligence and better coordinate through our secure communications system. I must admit here that that is what has been the driving force for the arrests of drug traffickers,’’ Atefor added.
The regional efforts add to periodic crackdowns being jointly organized across West and Central Africa and Latin America by the World Customs Organization, UNODC and Interpol. Between November and December 2011, one operation, staged across 25 airports in West-Central Africa and Brazil, resulted in the arrests of some 50 suspects, the seizure of over 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, guns, counterfeit medicines, ivory and over $3.2 million in cash.