Portuguese authorities have detained ten suspects as part of an investigation into an alleged network of trafficking of diamonds, gold, drugs and weapons from Africa by Portuguese troops on mission.
The police conducted over one hundred searches in military facilities and private homes both in mainland Portugal and the island of Madeira.
The Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs believes that the image of the Portuguese troops has not been affected:
“Portugal’s contribution to international security is recognised by all and the role of our special forces deployed in different theatres of operations is also widely recognised.
It is a very important role, which is a great honour to Portugal (…) My understanding is that the competent judicial authorities, when they feel they must take steps, do so.
In Portugal, the principle of separation of powers is in force, and therefore justice is justice’s business”, said Augusto Santos Silva.
“Operation Myriad” as it is known is the result of a denunciation made at the end of 2019 that was investigated by the authorities.
The investigation focussed in Portuguese peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic as part of a UN mission.
In a statement, the High Command of the Armed Forces confirmed the investigations and that military transport planes, which are not inspected by the authorities, would be used to bring drugs, gold and diamonds to Europe, which in the case of diamonds were then routed to Belgium and sold at million-dollar prices.