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Moroccan police seizes over 31 tonnes of cannabis in warehouse near Tangier, 61-year-old man arrested

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Days after the Police in Ivory Coast seized a record cocaine haul, there has been another record-breaking drug seizure in Africa as the Moroccan police have announced a record seizure of more than 31 tonnes of cannabis in a warehouse near Tangier, in the north of the kingdom.

According to a statement by the Directorate General of National Security (DGSN), the Moroccan police “foiled a major international drug trafficking operation and seized a record shipment of 31 tons 197 kilograms of chira (cannabis resin),”

The drug “was packaged and stuffed in fruit and vegetable figurines, the colour and size of which are likely to facilitate their exit from Morocco as agricultural products destined for export.” The statement said further.

The DGSN revealed that a 61-year-old man with a criminal record was arrested and placed in police custody on suspicion of links with a criminal network involved in international drug trafficking,”

Moroccan law provides for a maximum prison sentence of 30 years for drug-related offences, as well as fines for lesser drug-related offences ranging from 15 000 to 60 000 euros. Prison sentences ranging from ten to fifteen years remain the most common sentence for drug traffickers sentenced in Morocco.

Investigations are still ongoing to “determine all the regional and international ramifications of this criminal network”.

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Two Liberian Maritime officials arrested for alleged rape in South Korea while on seminar

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Two top Liberian Maritime Authorities staff who were in South Korea for a seminar were on Saturday, arrested and detained by the Asian country’s police for allegedly raping two teenage girls.

The suspects identified as Moses Owen Browne and Daniel Tarr, were arrested at a hotel in the southeastern city of Busan after a friend of the victims reported the case to the police, the Busan police said in a statement.

Browne, Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and Tarr, a Director of the Department of Marine Environmental Protection at the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), were in South Korea on a government mission to the IMO, which means they were representing the West African country at the programme.

According to a statement on the LiMA website condemning the incident, the officials were in South Korea attending the “International Maritime Organization (IMO) GHG SMART Practical Training and Study Visit” when this alleged incident occurred.

“LiMA unequivocally maintains a zero-tolerance stance on any types of sexual and gender-based offenses, and views these allegations of the conduct of its Officials as most egregious, having no place in any civilized society.

“Liberia Maritime Authority will fully cooperate with the Government of the Republic of South Korea in the investigation of this incident and vows to take appropriate actions, under national and international Law,” the statement read.

The South Korean police said it plans to seek formal arrest warrants for the two men which would allow them to hold the suspects in custody for up to 10 days before charging them to court.

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Interim Malian PM accuses France of stabbing country in the back following withdrawal of troops

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Interim Mali’s Prime Minister, Abdoulaye Idrissa Maïga, has accused its former colonial masters, France, of “stabbing” the West African country in the back following the withdrawal of the European country’s military in August.

Maïga who addressed the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) holding in New York on Saturday, criticised France for taking a “hasty” decision by withdrawing its troops from the country which is still battling to contain the incursions of jihadist militants and terrorists.

“The world will remember that, after being abandoned in mid-air on 10 June 2021 by France’s unilateral decision to withdraw the Barkhane force from Mali, my country was then stabbed in the back by the French authorities,” Maïga said.

“In view of the seriousness of the acts committed by the French, Mali, in its letter dated 15 August 2022, requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

“The purpose of this meeting is to allow Mali to present the evidence in its possession, demonstrating that the French army has repeatedly attacked my country.

“I would like to say that the Malian people have decided to take their destiny into their own hands. They fully support the government in rebuilding Mali and in returning to a peaceful and secure constitutional order in March 2024, following free, transparent and credible elections,” the Interim PM added.

France had withdrawn its troops from Mali following several accusations by the Malian government against members of its forces including extrajudicial killings, after its first military intervention in 2013, leading an effort to oust Islamic extremists from taking control of northern Malian towns.

The withdrawal of the French troops ended its nine years presence in the country in a bid to stabilise the country amid repeated attacks by insurgents.

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