String of bomb attacks reported as Antwerp's drugs war escalates

Just days ago the Antwerp suburb of Borgerhout was rocked by an explosion at around 4 a.m. - the third such attack in just a week. - causing considerable damage to the front of the targeted home.

The police, Sedee Dovo, the Belgian military bomb disposal service was called to the scene: the street, Ledeganckstraat, was closed off.

The explosive device, which appeared to have targeted the basement of the property, was reportedly a simple firework-based Improvised Explosive Device, or IED in military parlance.

Earlier the same week, an apartment building in Generaal de Wetstraat, also in Borgerhout, was targeted for two nights in a row. The attacks may be linked to gang rivalry: Antwerp is a major hub for international cocaine smuggling.

This is particularly frightening for the people of Borgerhout. They are really starting to feel unsafe in their homes and on their streets.... The whole approach to the drug problem needs serious thought... I mainly see what is happening in the neighbourhoods and I see the fear in my neighbours and in myself. I think it is necessary to work with police who are approachable; the police officer from the past who knows the neighbourhood through and through and who is on the road by bike or on foot has been phased out.

District mayor Marij Preneel.

The bulk of the cocaine being trafficked through Antwerp is believed to come from Colombia. However, Albanians are believed to be the foot-soldiers on the streets, and it is clear a drug-war is raging.

In February of this year an Albanian gangster with a forged British passport was shot dead outside his Antwerp home amid a bloody battle for management of the Belgian metropolis’s profitable drug trade, which has seen it change into Europe’s cocaine capital.

Albanian Gangster Beldar Muca

Beldar Muca, was shot six occasions as he returned to his flat on a Saturday evening, just yards from a police station, by two hitmen, with authorities stating that it bore all of the hallmarks of a contract killing.

Muca, 39, was previously captured on CCTV (left) in 2016 brandishing a handgun and firing at police, officers. He had been in Antwerp for the previous since 2014 working as a key member of an Albanian gang operating within the port, which has emerged because the epicentre for cocaine smuggled into Britain and the remainder of Europe from South America.

Historically recognised for its diamond buying and selling, Antwerp is reportedly now being overrun by Albanian gangsters with the town’s streets awash with money with the police fighting a losing with the drug cartels.

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Phillipe Jeune

Phillipe Jeune

Phillipe Jeune is a Paris-based freelance journalist, and an occasional contributor to EU Today. He has a background in intelligence gathering, and he specialises in business and political matters, with a particular interest in Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas.

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