DAR ES SALAAM - Tanzanian anti-narcotics police have arrested eight Iranians and four Pakistanis found with 200 kilograms of heroin off the east African nation’s coast, a spokesman said Wednesday.
The haul, which in Europe would have a street value of up to 10 million euros, is the latest in a string of major seizures of the narcotic - which is mostly produced in Afghanistan - off of Tanzania amid fears that east Africa could be emerging as a key narcotics transit point.
“The suspects were arrested in the early hours of Tuesday on a dhow that was sailing from the island of Zanzibar to the commercial capital Dar es Salaam,” Tanzanian police spokesman Godfrey Nzowa told AFP.
“They are being held for questioning and necessary legal action will follow,” he added.
At least four large hauls of heroin - amounting to 1.5 tonnes in all - have been made in Tanzanian waters in the past year by a Canadian warship that patrols there, according to Canadian media.
PAKISTANI DRUG SMUGGLER
Saudi authorities on Wednesday beheaded a Pakistani for smuggling drugs and a national for killing a compatriot, the interior ministry said, bringing the number of executions in the kingdom this year to nine.
Mohammed Asharaf Ramazan was caught attempting to smuggle into the kingdom an amount of heroin that he swallowed, the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency. He was executed in Riyadh.
In another case, Saudi national Turki Ahmed al-Salami was executed in the southwestern Asir region after he was convicted of shooting dead Salman Subaykhi, the ministry said in a separate statement.
Saudi Arabia beheaded 78 people in 2013, according to an AFP count.
Last year, the UN High Commission for Human Rights denounced a “sharp increase in the use of capital punishment” since 2011 in the kingdom.
According to figures from Amnesty International, the number of executions in Saudi Arabia jumped from 27 in 2010, of whom five were foreigners, to 82 in 2011, including 28 foreigners.
In 2012, the number of executions slipped slightly to 79 people, among them 27 foreign nationals.
Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under the conservative kingdom’s strict version of Sharia law and the accused muse be brought to justice.