Customs officers in Mali have seized gold estimated to be worth seven million euros ($8.5 million) hidden in a car.
According to the Mali government, the 143 kilograms (315 pounds), 88 bars of gold was en route to neighbouring Guinea and was discovered on Saturday night, December 19.
The 88 bars discovered overnight Saturday were “destined to be exported without the knowledge of customs officers, which would have disrupted our economy”, said Amidou Fakourou Bakagha, deputy director general of the customs service, on Monday, December 21.
The poor, landlocked country in western Africa is the fifth-biggest gold producer on the continent, according to the World Bank, and due to the porous nature of their borders, seizures of gold traffickers is usual.
Its industrial and small-scale mining makes the precious metal the country’s biggest export product, according to the World Bank.