FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Transnational criminal groups trafficking narcotics through Sierra Leone are threatening to unravel recent security gains, a U.N. report says.
The U.N. Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone says in the report that despite progress made in the country following years of civil war, transnational criminal groups are increasingly using the country as a narcotics trafficking hub. Officials say the illicit drug trafficking network could destabilize an already fragile government, the United Nations reported.
Sierra Leone joins several other countries in West Africa identified by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime as transit stops for trafficking cocaine and other narcotics from the Caribbean and South America to Europe.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who contributed to the report, called on the international community to support efforts to combat the flourishing drug trade in West Africa.
"Illicit drug trafficking, a new phenomenon with huge potential for disrupting the security and socioeconomic stability of the country, and indeed the region, has to be addressed before it takes root and poses even greater dangers," Ban writes in the report.