Sierra Leone-Guinea Smuggling Seen

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(Rapaport…September 26) Diamonds from Sierra Leone are being smuggled to Europe and other destinations on a daily basis by Guineans who cross the border to mining towns near Kamakwei, the Standard Times of Freetown reports.

Border security personnel frequently allow the smugglers free passage in exchange for money, according to a nongovernmental organization (NGO) worker in the area who requested anonymity.

Most of the diamonds smuggled for export are large stones; smaller ones are sold in northern Guinea, according to the report.

Kamakwei resident Ibrahim Conteh called diamond mining in most parts of Sierra Leone more a “curse than a blessing” because land that could be used for agriculture is instead put to the benefit of people outside his country.

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