New Era (Windhoek)

18 December 2012

Namibia: SPYL Disturbed By Youths? Involvement in Drugs

The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) says it is disturbed by the unremitting reports of Namibian youths entangled in the illegal trafficking of drugs into and out of the country.

"Our information is that illegal, addictive drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy, mandrax, cocaine, heroin and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), arrive in Namibia from South Africa, Angola and Zambia, as well as from Europe and Asia, Brazil, Columbia and Peru," the SPYL secretary for International Affairs Edward Kafita and spokesperson Job Shipululo Amupanda said in a statement this week.

The SPYL makes reference to "both formal and informal reports" and points at New Era's story of November 09, 2011 on the 10 women currently languishing in Brazilian jails after being arrested for being drug mules. Police statistics made available to New Era last week indicate that a total of 808 Namibians have been arrested since January for drug trafficking and possession. The 808 Namibians are part of the total 905 offenders arrested.

"I am particularly concerned that most of the offenders that were arrested during this year are our economically active [in the] age group of between 18 and 28 years," police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi has said. Drugs worth over N$5 million were seized in 2012 alone. Police says while Namibia has been a mere transit route for drugs in the past, today it is a "user country" as well.

Head of the Drug Law Enforcement Unit Deputy Commissioner Hermie van Zyl, in the same interview, confirmed the increase in the number of drug consignments from Namibia's northern neighbours who have started growing their own marijuana in recent years.

"At the moment the main route is the one from Sao Paulo in Brazil to Luanda and then into Namibia," Van Zyl had said.

The SPYL said despite the risks involved "young Namibian women find it fashionable to stuff themselves with drugs to evade detection and to travel to distant lands to deliver these drugs to criminals for high profits, notwithstanding the punitive prison sentences incurred if they are caught. The SPYL calls on people contemplating acting as drug mules to think of the havoc drugs cause in the community, fuelling addiction that destroys families and spreads crime, in the process weakening the moral fibre of society at large."

"The consumption of addictive drugs is on the increase and we are currently in the season of the year where drug use is most rife.

We therefore urge young people to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and report all illegal drug related activities. Young people need to be aware of the risks they run if they get caught up in the dangerous world of drug trafficking," the SPYL said, adding that "youth economic empowerment is central to emancipation."

"We will play our role in our campaigns to the Namibian youth starting January 2013, and we call on all the stakeholders and those that care to take the issue of drugs amongst the youth seriously."

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