The international drugs trade returns to post-war Mali

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Since the retreat of jihadist forces from northern Mali, and the winding down this year of the French military campaign that forced them out of the area, drugs trafficking has regained its lucrative path across the Sahel region, en route to Europe. Thomas Cantaloube reports from Mali on how the drugs trade has become a major cause of corruption in both the former French colony and the wider region of West Africa, where the transit of drugs is now joined by a dangerous and growing new phenomena, that of drug consumption.

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It’s a modern district in an old town, a sad zone amid a metropolis that is full of life. Here and there are incomplete concrete structures sitting among the brand-new glass-fronted buildings. The ACI 2000 district of the Malian capital Bamako, built during the first decade of the 21st century, was supposed to represent a radiant, forward-looking country. But today it is a sorry pseudo-modern growth on the face of the capital, full of abandoned building projects and whose inhabitants complain it is unliveable.