Cablegate: Mozambique 2008-2009 International Narcotics

DE RUEHTO #1086/01 3221311
R 171311Z NOV 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 100970


I. Summary
Mozambique is a transit country for illegal drugs such as
hashish, herbal cannabis, cocaine, and heroin consumed
primarily in Europe, and for mandrax (methaqualone) consumed
primarily in South Africa. Some illicit drug shipments
passing through Mozambique may also find their way to the
United States and Canada. Drug production mostly is limited
to herbal cannabis cultivation and a small but growing number
of mandrax laboratories. Evidence suggests considerable use
of herbal cannabis and limited consumption of "club drugs"
(Ecstasy/MDMA), prescription medicines, and heroin primarily
by the country's urban population. Porous borders, a poorly
policed seacoast, inadequately trained and equipped law
enforcement agencies, and corruption in the police and
judiciary hampered Mozambique's enforcement and interdiction
efforts. The United States, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime
(UNODC), and other donors have established cooperation
programs to improve training of drug control officials and
provide better interdiction and laboratory equipment.
Mozambique is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Mozambique is not a significant producer of illegal drugs and
not a producer of precursor chemicals. Herbal cannabis
remains the most produced and most consumed drug in the
country. While herbal cannabis for local consumption is
produced throughout the country, seizure quantities and
statistics from 2006 indicate higher levels in Maputo City,
Manica, Sofala, and Cabo Delgado provinces. Limited amounts
are trafficked to neighboring countries, primarily South
Africa. Mozambique's role as a transit country for illicit
drugs and precursors and a favored point of disembarkation in
Africa for trafficking to Europe continues to grow, mostly
because of its proximity to South Africa (the major market
for illicit drugs) as well as weak law enforcement capacity
at borders, major seaports, and airports. Southwest Asian
producers ship cannabis resin (hashish) and synthetic drugs
through Mozambique to Europe and South Africa. Limited
quantities of these shipments also may reach the United
States and Canada. Heroin and other opiate derivatives
shipped through Mozambique usually originate in Southeast
Asia and typically transit India, Pakistan, the United Arab
Emirates, and later Tanzania, before arriving by small ship
or, occasionally, overland to Mozambique. Many traffickers
are of Tanzanian or Pakistani origin. In 2008, there
continued to be few reports of cocaine entering the country
via couriers on international flights from Colombia and
Brazil. Government authorities attribute the decrease to a
change in tactics by traffickers and, to a lesser extent,
more stringent police efforts at airports. However they also
acknowledge that fewer reports may not represent a decrease
in the overall amount of cocaine entering the country.

Government authorities have noted an increase in the use of
heroin and Ecstasy among the urban population. The abuse of
mandrax, which is usually smoked in combination with
cannabis, continues to be a matter of concern for countries
in southern Africa. Shipments of mandrax enter South Africa
from India and China, sometimes after transiting Mozambique.
South Africa dropped visa requirements for citizens of all
six neighboring countries, further complicating interdiction
and enforcement efforts.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2008 Agreements and

Policy Initiatives. Mozambique's accomplishments in meeting
its goals under the 1988 UN Drug Convention remain limited.
Government resources devoted to the counter-narcotics effort
are meager, and little or no donor funds have been available
in recent years. The Mozambican government carries out drug
education programs in local schools in cooperation with
bilateral and multilateral donors as part of its demand
reduction efforts.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Mozambique's counter-narcotics
brigade operates in Maputo and reports to the Chief of the
Criminal Investigation Police in the Ministry of Interior.
The brigade suffers from a general lack of resources and is

MAPUTO 00001086 002 OF 004

operating at reduced levels compared with previous years.
The brigade has not received training for several years.
Since 2005, a small, specialized police unit designed to
strengthen efforts to fight organized crime, including
narcotics trafficking, has operated at airports in provincial
capitals. In 2006 Mozambican and Brazilian authorities
signed a memorandum of understanding on principles, in
preparation for an eventual extradition agreement for those
convicted of trafficking drugs between the two countries.
Through November, 2008 cannabis seizures were 4,793kg, up
from 4,638.26 kg in 2007, and 5.55kg of cocaine seized, up
from 1.5kg in 2007. Due to alterations in trafficking
procedures, and as interdiction efforts continue to improve
at the Maputo airport, traffickers now use alternate
airports, including those of Beira, Nampula, Quelimane, and
Vilankulos. It is widely assumed that some illegal drugs
enter the country by sea; the government relies on sporadic
port inspections and under-trained border guards to police
this source. Police reported that in 2008 562 people were
indicted for illegal drug trafficking and 107 were detained,
of which 20 were tried, and 7 convicted of drug trafficking.
On several occasions during the year, Mozambican authorities
highlighted a severe lack of resources for destroying seized
drugs, particularly hashish, cannabis, and cocaine.

Corruption. The government does not as a matter of policy
encourage or facilitate the illicit production or
distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, other
controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from
illegal drug transactions, nor were there reports in 2008
that any senior government official engaged in such
practices. While corruption is pervasive in Mozambique, the
government continues its efforts to prosecute police and
customs officials charged with drug trafficking offenses.

Agreements and Treaties. Mozambique is a party to the 1961
UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the
1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic
Substances, the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and the UN
Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Mozambique
has signed, but not yet ratified the UN Convention Against

Cultivation/Production. Cannabis is cultivated primarily in
Maputo City, Tete, Manica, Cabo Delgado, Zambezia and Sofala.
Cannabis production registered an increase in 2008.
Intercropping is the most common method of production. The
Mozambican government has no reliable estimates of crop size.
Authorities have made efforts since 2007 to eradicate
cannabis crops through controlled burns.

Drug Flow/Transit. Assessments of drugs transiting
Mozambique are based upon limited seizure data and the
observations of Mozambique officials and UNODC officials.
Mozambique increasingly serves as a transit country for
hashish, cannabis resin, heroin, and mandrax originating in
Southwest Asia, owing to its porous borders, long and
sparsely patrolled coastline, lack of resources for
interdiction efforts, and improving transportation links with
neighboring countries. Drugs destined for the South African
and European markets arrive in Mozambique by small ship,
mostly in the coastal provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula,
Sofala, and Inhambane, before being repackaged and sent by
land to neighboring countries.

The Maputo corridor border crossing at Ressano Garcia/Lebombo
is an important transit point to South Africa. Hashish and
heroin are also shipped on to Europe; some hashish may reach
Canada and the United States, but not in significant
quantities. Arrests in Brazil, Mozambique, and South Africa
indicate drug couriers trafficked cocaine from Colombia and
Brazil to Mozambique, often through Lisbon, for onward
shipment to South Africa. Nigerian and Tanzanian cocaine
traffickers are reported to have targeted Mozambique as a
gateway to the South African and European markets.

In 2007, 562 people were indicted for use or drug
trafficking, against 669 in the previous year. This
reduction is seen as a positive trend in the effort to
implement control measures in the ports, airports and land
borders, though the authorities recognize that they still
lack financial resources and equipment means to that effect.

This is of particular relevance in light of the upcoming 2010

MAPUTO 00001086 003 OF 004

Soccer World Cup which will be hosted by South Africa. The
Soccer World Cup will undoubtedly have major implications for
Mozambique in view of its proximity to South Africa as well
as the fact that it is hosting some national teams prior to
the event. This enhances the importance of strengthening the
capacity of Mozambique to address the security challenges,
including the influx of drugs and other illicit commodities.

Domestic Program/Demand Reduction. The primary substances of
abuse are alcohol, nicotine, and herbal cannabis. The
Mozambican Office for the Prevention and Fight Against Drugs
(GCPCD) reported in 2007 that the use of heroin, cocaine, and
psychotropic "club drugs," such as Ecstasy and mandrax, was
increasing in Mozambique's urban population. GCPCD maintains
an office in each provincial capital and coordinates a drug
prevention and education program for use in schools and with
high risk families; the program includes plays and lectures
in schools, churches, and other places where youths gather.
The GCPCD has also provided the material to a number of local
NGOs for use in their drug education programs. GCPCD
received no treatment assistance from bilateral donors in
2008 and relies heavily on the voice of community leaders for
implementation of their drug education programs. Despite an
increase in the number of drug users, government funding and
resources remain scarce (the GCPCD operated on a budget of
approximately $45,000 in 2007), limiting abuse and treatment
options. The number of drug abusers seeking treatment has
decreased, from 1,436 in 2006 to 624 in 2007. This is seen
as the result of the prevention campaigns (6.8% increase in
the number of activists since 2006) and improved
inter-ministerial coordination. Programs assisting drug
abusers are church and family based initiatives that
reintroduce abusers into family and community settings. The
Ministry of Health does not have any treatment programs to
assist drug abusers; those seeking assistance are referred to
a psychiatric hospital.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The United States continues to
sponsor Mozambican law enforcement officials and prosecutors
to attend regional training programs at the International Law
Enforcement Academy (ILEA) for Africa in Botswana. Law
enforcement officials have also received training at ILEA in
New Mexico. The United States has supported the police
sciences academy near Maputo, through training and technical
assistance in the areas of drug identification and
investigation, as well as other areas of criminal sciences
including fingerprint identification, forensic photography,
and the identification of fraudulent documents. The
assistance included construction of a forensic laboratory and
the supply of related forensic analysis equipment.
Additionally, technical assistance programs at the police
academy also focus on methods to foster better relations
between the community and the police. USAID provides
training support to the Attorney General's Central Office for
the Combat of Corruption (GCCC), formerly the anticorruption
unit. In October 2007 a short-term regional legal advisor
arrived to work with the unit and other judicial offices for
a period of several months through the Department of Justice
Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training
program. Also in October 2007, an assessment team from the
State Department's Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance
conducted an assessment to consider appropriate assistance
levels for improving the capabilities of Mozambican security
forces to combat terrorism. Part of this assessment included
an evaluation of security capabilities at the land border
station at Ressano Garcia, the Maputo seaport, and Maputo's
international airport. In 2007-2008, the USG provided
training to 300 guards and senior officers of the Mozambican
Border Guards in techniques of securing borders and managing
border crossing (document checking, inspections). Inspection
materials, vehicles and alternate transportation options,
equipment for distant posts, and computer equipment were
supplied to border guards to assist in putting into practice
the techniques taught in the training courses.

The Road Ahead. U.S. assistance in support of the GCCC will
continue in 2008. Additionally, efforts to improve
Mozambique's border security capabilities continue: building
on the success of the initial training, the USG will sponsor
additional basic and advanced border security courses for
Mozambican border guards. The U.S. military has also
provided shallow draft vessels for limited coastal security

MAPUTO 00001086 004 OF 004

work in conjunction with USCG training on ship/vessel
boarding and search and seizure techniques; DOD will train
the Mozambican Navy on search and seizure techniques using
those vessels.

The Government expects to finalize a $17.4 million Strategic
Plan on Illegal Drugs for 2009-2014 by the end of 2008.
Without the regional cooperation needed to finance anti-drug
efforts in Mozambique, implementation of the Strategic Plan
is impossible. The GRM would benefit from strengthened
interdiction capabilities of border control officials
stationed at airports, land-borders and seaports and coastal
areas, provision of equipment and training to enhance
expertise and capacity for drug law enforcement, training of
officers from the GCPCD and anti-drug activists in the
private sector, particularly NGOs, support for the rapid
destruction of seized drugs and support for the creation of a
reliable Data Base. The GRM should continue its focus on
reducing corruption to ensure that progress with its
narcotics control efforts continues.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN Agriculture: Helps Protect Against Threat Of Locust In Yemen

Following heavy widespread rains in Yemen, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) remains on high alert... More>>

UNFCCC: Simon Stiell Appointed New Executive Secretary
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Simon Stiell as the new Executive Secretary of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat based in Bonn, Germany...

Binoy Kampmark: Europe Dries Up
Scenes and pictures have been circulating of broken earth, lacking moisture, cracked and yearning. But these are not from traditional drought-stricken parts of the planet, where the animal carcass assumes near totemic power... More>>

Afghanistan: One Year On From Regime Change And Children Face An Unimaginable A Crisis
On the one-year anniversary of regime change in Afghanistan, a new World Vision report highlights the grave risk the country’s children face from starvation, forced child marriage, and child labour... More>>

Somalia: ‘We Cannot Wait For Famine To Be Declared; We Must Act Now’
Rising acute food insecurity in Somalia has caused more than 900,000 people to flee their homes in search of humanitarian assistance since January last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned... More>>

UN: American West Faces Water And Power Shortages Due To Climate Crisis
Two of the largest reservoirs in the United States are at dangerously low levels due to the climate crisis and overconsumption of water, which could affect water and electricity supply for millions in six western states and Mexico, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned on Tuesday... More>>