“We must reject the status of Narco-State”

Adam Thaim, chief editorialist for Bamako's Le Republicain, reflects on a Mali being caught in an international conflict over drugs and terrorism. In short, Malian's must solve this smuggling problem, before the West drags them into a "war on terror" and "war on drugs" from which they will benefit little. He notes a gang fight over cigarette smuggling at Batal – 15 km from Gao – last week that left one man dead, and another shot through each hand in punishment. Thaim fears the tie up in international conflicts will turn people against one another, and "Malians will soon assume every northerner is a bomber and any rich man is a drug dealer" While Malian's must pull together, the greater fear is from the perceptions of outsiders. "We are not owners of these conflicts and therefore it is not we, ultimately, who can gain from them. But rightly or wrongly, the link between this activity [the drugs trade] and the AQIM has been made and this will not win us the next Nobel Peace Prize."

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