Abadi Choudi, a British citizen of Lebanese origin, has just been arrested at the Douala international airport, the Cameroonian economic capital, with a cargo of rough diamonds worth an estimated FCfa 630 million, we learned from customs sources.
Born in Monrovia, capital of Liberia, a country ravaged from 1999 to 2003 by a civil war financed in part by so called blood diamonds, the smuggler arrested in Douala was apparently tailed by Cameroonian intelligence agents, before being caught red-handed.
Some sources close to the case suspect that the diamonds seized in the luggage of Abadi Choudi come from the Central African Republic (CAR), big producer of these precious stones, which shares a long land border with Cameroon, in the Eastern region.
We can recall that on 2 December 2016, on the eve of an assessment mission by the Kimberly Process (international mechanism to track diamonds sold worldwide, to avoid using them to finance wars, Ed.) in Cameroon, a report from the NGO Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) had denounced “the incapacity” of the Cameroonian public authorities “to implement the Kimberley Process”.
Entitled “From conflict to illicit: Mapping the diamond trade from the Central African Republic to Cameroon”, this report revealed in particular that “Cameroon is allowing conflict diamonds from the Central African Republic to cross over its borders and into the legal supply chain due to poor controls, smuggling and corruption ».
These accusations were denied by the local monitoring Committee for the implementation of the Kimberly Process, and were also not confirmed by the mission of experts from the international committee, who investigated in several towns in the Eastern region of Cameroon, during the first half of December 2016.
As a reminder, the logging and mining region of Eastern Cameroon officially hosts approximately 60,000 Central African refugees supervised by the UN-HCR, and whose links and communication with their homeland were not but, mainly due to the porous nature of the border between Cameroon and CAR.