Organised Crime

A Rising Tide of Murder in Venezuela’s Mineral-rich South

Dead bodies are appearing across the Orinoco river basin of southern Venezuela. Bram Ebus ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group consultant Bram Ebus explains how the killings are linked by jostling among criminals, guerrillas and soldiers for mineral wealth amid the country’s wider socio-economic meltdown. What happened? A spate of mass killings in southern Venezuela is stirring international concern as the country’s political and economic crisis continues to drive a migrant exodus. On 14 October, at least seven miners were murdered ... Read More »

Mexico mothers search for mass graves after tip-off

A group of Mexican mothers looking for their missing children is digging up a site in the eastern state of Veracruz in search of mass graves. BBC A spokeswoman for the group, called Solecito, said the mothers had received an anonymous tip-off. The mothers fear that more than 400 people could be buried in shallow graves in the area. Hundreds of bodies have already been found in other nearby clandestine graves in the past two years. Solecito was founded two ... Read More »

UN’s 10-year plan to tackle world’s drug problem has been ‘spectacular failure’ as production and consumption soar, report says

Drug-related deaths increase by 145 per cent and cultivation of opium poppies increases by 130 per cent, figures show Samuel Osborne Independent The UN’s 10-year global strategy to eradicate the world’s illegal drug market has been “a spectacular failure of policy”, a report by a network of 174 NGOs has concluded. The report said there had been a 145 per cent increase in drug-related deaths over the last decade, culminating in around 450,000 deaths per year in 2015. It also found that despite a ... Read More »

The Life and Death of a Mexican Hitman

Researching how Mexico can uproot the scourge of organised crime, our Senior Analyst Falko Ernst befriends a doomed hitman on the run from his past. Falko Ernst ICG Talking to the sicario in the Michoacán underworld, he learns much about the deadly challenges the new government faces. It’s 7pm on a Sunday, and night is falling in this Michoacán town. The heat of the day is past, and there’s a pleasant breeze. The first visitors to the park have left for dinner, ... Read More »

Crime gangs: Facts, fiction and furphies

First, an admission – this story is a waste of time. For it relates to the issue of Sudanese crime gangs, where everyone seems to have a firm opinion and no one shows the slightest inclination to change theirs. John Silvester The Age This is not a black-and-white topic. Those who say there is a problem are not necessarily paid-up members of the KKK and those who say there isn’t are not, by definition, ABC sympathisers who believe tofu should ... Read More »

Rodrigo Duterte commits to war on illegal drugs in Philippines State of the Union address

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte says he will not be stopping the war on drugs that has resulted in thousands of extrajudicial killings, saying while his critics’ “concern is human rights, mine is human lives”. ABC Speaking for his annual State of the Union address at a joint session of Congress, Mr Duterte reaffirmed his resolve to fight illegal drugs as he had during his first two years in power. He took a swipe at his critics who say his so ... Read More »

The secret story of how America lost the drug war with the Taliban

A high-stakes plan to indict Afghan drug lords and insurgency leaders on criminal conspiracy charges ran afoul of the Obama team. Five years later, it remains buried under Trump. Josh Meyer Politico As Afghanistan edged ever closer to becoming a narco-state five years ago, a team of veteran U.S. officials in Kabul presented the Obama administration with a detailed plan to use U.S. courts to prosecute the… The plan, according to its authors, was both a way of halting the ... Read More »

Crime stats: Victoria sees another big drop in crime

Police say forensic targeting of known criminals is helping to make some of Melbourne’s offending hot spots safer, as official figures show the annual crime rate down 9.5 per cent across the state, and some of the… Noel Towell & Craig Butt The Age The Crime Statistics Agency says the number of criminal incidents recorded by police in the year to March 31 this year was 380,150, down nearly 9 per cent from 416,925 incidents recorded in the… There were ... Read More »

Bangladesh body count mounts; group urges U.N. action to stop drug war

DHAKA/MUMBAI (Reuters) – The death toll in a Bangladeshi “zero tolerance” crackdown on drugs has risen to 140, with about 18,000 people arrested, the government said on Thursday, as a group of activists urged the United Nations to step in to stop the… Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the anti-narcotics campaign in early May to tackle the spread of methamphetamines but the killings have raised fears among rights groups of a bloody Philippine-style campaign to wipe out… “In a manner… ... Read More »

Brazil: New Evidence of Army Role in Rio Ambush

No Arrests 6 Months After Killings of 8 People New accounts by witnesses suggest that the killers of a group of people in a poor neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro on November 11, 2017, were members of the army special forces, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch interviewed two witnesses and reviewed witness accounts from case files indicating that the clothing and gear of the killers were the same as those of the army personnel who arrived on ... Read More »

922 cases of war crimes documented in Turkish attacks on Afrin

A group of lawyers documented 922 cases of war crimes since the beginning of Turkey’s invasion attacks against Afrin on January 22. ANF A group of lawyers in Afrin held a press conference to release the information about war crimes committed by Turkish state. According to the statement, Turkish army and Al-Qaeda affiliated gangs committed 922 war crimes and all of these have documented by canton officials in Afrin. Here are some highlights from the report released by… 922 cases ... Read More »

Forced disappearances are on the rise as human rights violators cover their tracks

It seems the global campaign to protect human rights has had an unexpected side-effect: governments are changing their preferred methods of getting rid of political opponents. Rodwan Abouharb The Conversation Fear of scrutiny has prompted governments to switch from brazenly killing their opponents to forcing them to “disappear” – leaving their fate unclear, and helping leaders avoid accountability for their actions. The majority of disappearance cases go unsolved – in the absence of a body, forensic evidence or even eyewitness ... Read More »

‘Tortured and held for ransom,’ a child migrant’s story

(CNN) – Souleiman tells a harrowing tale. He says he left Guinea when he was just 17 years old, embarking on a treacherous journey that took him through three countries. By Lorenzo D’Agostino and Mark Tutton, CNN Along the way, he says he was imprisoned, tortured and held for ransom. Souleiman says he left home in the summer of 2016, traveling thousands of miles through Mali, Algeria and Libya before reaching the Mediterranean Sea in December 2017. Smugglers put him in ... Read More »

Most Mexico murders organized crime linked

Organized crime accounted for nearly three-quarters of all murders in Mexico in 2017, the country’s deadliest year since record-keeping began, according to non-profit Semaforo Delictivo. MEXICO – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The group said that 18,989 of the year’s officially recorded 25,339 murders were carried out by criminal gangs. The figure represented a 55 percent increase on the year before. “The sort of numbers we used to see in a year, we now see in a month,” said Santiago Roel, the ... Read More »

Mexico’s Worsening War without a Name

The “war on drugs” has morphed into a new rash of killings in Mexico. Froylán Enciso ICG The deadly violence of increasingly well-organised, business-minded criminal groups risks being aggravated by government inaction, corruption and bombastic U.S. rhetoric – exactly what caused the problem in the first place. Murder rates in Mexico have hit a… Mexico’s Worsening War… Read More »

The war on terror needs new strategies

A close friend of mine lives and works in London. Maria Dubovikova Arab News Her message to me on the day of the terrorist act near Westminster was: “I’m afraid to leave the office. Everybody is alarmed… The war on… Read More »