On 14 January, le Monde reported that 10 people have been taken into custody suspected of supplying weapons to drug traffickers and ultra-right wing supporters. The arrests were made in several regions several regions of France as part of a judicial investigation opened in June 2020, and 6 of these arrested are said to be soldiers or retired soldiers. Several tonnes of weapons and ammunition were seized and a cache of weapons was discovered during searches of the homes of those in custody. The seizures included handguns, assault rifles, and grenades. Most of them were bought from collectors and then resold.
On 17 January, the Daily Maverick carried a report saying that South Africa has surfaced as a key transit point for bullion smugglers wanting to channel the precious metal to and from one of the world’s most prolific players in the gold industry – Dubai; and an investigation sparked at the start of this year may also reveal whether a smuggling syndicate possibly operating from Madagascar has been using the country as a conduit. It is said that most of Zimbabwe’s gold is still thought to go through South Africa, and its local scrap metal-to-refinery route leading to Dubai is undoubtedly the preferred route for most syndicates. Dubai’s location and industry verticals, which include financing and logistics, have positioned it to be a far more convenient trading centre, positioned between Africa’s extensive resources and heavy consumer nations such as India.