The United States has announced a reward of $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Antonio Indjai, the former head of the Guinea-Bissau Armed Forces.
Ned Price, spokesman of the U.S. Department of State, said in a statement that Mr Indjai has been the subject of a United Nations travel ban since May 2012, as a result of his participation in an April 2012 coup d’état in Guinea-Bissau.
“Indjai led a criminal organization which took an active part in drug trafficking in Guinea-Bissau and the region for many years, even while serving as head of the Guinea-Bissau Armed Forces,” the U.S. said.
It added that Mr Indjai was seen as one of the most powerful destabilising figures in Guinea-Bissau, “operating freely throughout West Africa, using illegal proceeds to corrupt and destabilise other foreign governments and undermine the rule of law throughout the region”.
The statement said, according to a January 2013 indictment, in the summer of 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confidential sources began communicating with Indjai and his co-conspirator associates in Guinea-Bissau.
Between June and November 2012, Mr Indjai agreed to receive and store multi-ton quantities of cocaine purportedly owned by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which he understood would be sold for the benefit of the FARC.
Mr Indjai and his co-conspirators agreed that a portion of the received cocaine funds would be used to pay Guinea-Bissau government officials.
“In addition, Indjai and other co-conspirators agreed to purchase weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles, for the FARC using drug proceeds and established a front company in Guinea-Bissau to complete the illicit weapons transactions, further destabilizing West Africa and Latin America.”
The statement said Mr Indjai has been charged with narcoterrorism conspiracy, conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organisation, and conspiracy to acquire and transfer anti-aircraft missiles.