Cocaine trafficking has turned Guinea-Bissau into Africa's first narco-state, and a lucrative source of cash for Hezbollah and Al Qaeda as well as South American drug cartels. The double assassinations last March of the country's president and army chief of staff exposed a lawless state that is spiraling out of control. The images below, which originally ran as the cover spread for The Sunday Times Spectrum Magazine, chronicle the intersection of drugs and violence in Guinea Bissau.
Story written by Peter Burghardt
Updated Feb.11, 2011
From the introduction on the Süddeutsche Zeitung site (translated from German):
"Originally, the Italian photographer Marco Vernaschi wanted to do a photo story on drug dealers in Guinea-Bissau, Africa. But he ended up in a gruesome war between the military and the government. First, the highest ranking army general was murdered. Then Vernaschi drove to the house of the president who had just been killed by soldiers. A photo essay from the heart of hell."