Is there a link between marijuana business and militants in Egypt?
Last Sunday, the Egyptian Army targeted 16 terrorist hideouts and an ammunition storehouse in the central North Sinai province. They also destroyed four acres of marijuana crops in addition to a large amount of marijuana ready for sale.
“The forces of the Third Field Army continue their efforts to destroy terrorist and criminal elements in Central Sinai,” the Egyptian army spokesman Tamer Al-Refaay said in a statement.
The Sinai Province has been a haven for Egyptian militancy and a quagmire for the country’s army following the toppling of former Islamic Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi in 2013.
Since the ouster of Mursi, terrorist attacks killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers.
There is, however, no link between growing marijuana and the militancy. But in late January, the Egyptian Army arrested two militants in Sinai, Egypt Today reported. They also seized three vehicles, which carried a big quantity of electric wires, materials needed for making explosives and spare parts of motorcycles and 4×4 vehicles.
Four vehicles carrying a large amount of marijuana and other narcotic drugs were also seized, heralding a possibility that these militants are selling drugs to make profits.
Meanwhile, the use of marijuana – medicinal or recreational – is illegal in Egypt. Also, large-scale smuggling of cannabis in Egypt could land its offenders death sentences.
However, Egypt, which has a population of almost 96 million, has weed part of its culture and its appearance in Egyptian movies is not odd.
But despite the illegality of cannabis, marijuana is still grown throughout the year in the country’s Sinai Peninsula and in Upper Egypt.
In 1994, seven million cannabis plants and 10.3 million opium plants were eradicated, part of the government’s anti-drugs push.