Newsbriefing – Week of 18 February

The trial of the “Air Cocaine” drug-trafficking case started on 18 February in Aix-en-Provence, France. The case involves the seizure of 680 kilos of cocaine on board of a private jet in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic back in 2013. Both the pilots and passengers are facing up severe sentences.

The kidnapping and assassination of three Ecuadorian media workers by a dissident group from the FARC back in April 2018 continues to resonate with the publication of “Rehenes” (In English “hostages”), a book dedicated to the affair. Since the demobilisation of the group in 2016, some of its dissidents have started filtering into northern Ecuador, making it difficult for the latter to address security issues along the border.

On Wednesday, the United Nations stressed that more than 100,000 people have been displaced in Burkina Faso to armed attacks and insecurity thus triggering a humanitarian emergency. Since last year, the army has stepped up to respond to the spread of a growing jihadi insurgency.

As part of the Colombian illicit crop eradication process, the government envisages the forced eradication of 80,000 hectares by the antinarcotics police, leaving the other part of the programme – voluntary substitution – in second-place position. Some of the 100,000 families who had agreed on the voluntary substitution plan and complied with it, saw their payments suspended for some months with the arrival of the new government in 2018.

On Thursday, Nicolas Maduro ordered the closing of the border between Venezuela and Brazil and threatened to close the border with Colombia too, accusing the neighbouring country to support Juan Guaidó and the United States’ policy.

The delayed Nigerian elections took place on Saturday and Sunday not without violence as 128 people were arrested for suspected vote-related offences and one worker of the electoral commission killed in the South.