Morocco is looking carefully to the situation in the Sahel where terrorists are increasingly resorting to organized crime and trafficking to fund their activities, head of Morocco’s counterterrorism agency, BCIJ, Abdelhak Khiame said.
Speaking to local press, Khiame rang the alarm bell regarding the fallout of the connivance between terrorists and organized crime groups on Sahel states, including Algeria.
Past cases of foiled trafficking attempts in Morocco reveal the scale of the terrorist threat fed by organized crime in the Sahel, he said.
Although Morocco remains largely insulated from Sahel terrorism, neighboring states such as Algeria and Mauritania remain largely prey to terrorist groups such as Al Qaida branch (AQIM).
The BCIJ chief also pointed to the link between Polisario separatists and terrorist groups. He said that individuals hailing from the Tindouf camps have on multiple occasions been involved in drug trafficking. Some of them have joined the ranks of AQIM.
Last year, a study by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies unveiled said that AQIM has reaped around $100 million through ransoms, drug smuggling, taxing locals and donations from around the world.