Two Ghanaian footballers Twum Frank Ntini and Richard Dzifa Appiae have been arrested and detained in Bangladesh for possessing illegal drugs.
Twum, 27, and Appiae, 28, were arrested with 7,500 pieces of yaba tablets, which contain a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine, which is illegal in many South-East Asian countries.
According to a report by UNB, the two Ghanaian citizens got down from a bus in Shah Amanat Bridge area around 2 am while going to Dhaka from Cox’s Bazar.
Following their suspicious movement, police challenged them and recovered the Yaba pills from their possession after a search, he said, adding that law enforcers later detained them.
During interrogation, the duo revealed that they were smuggling the drugs for one Mohammad Masud in the capital.
Following the information, police arrested Masud from Bashundhara Residential Area in the capital in the afternoon, he said.
Citing the Ghanaian nationals, the Officer in Charge of Bakalia Police Station Mohammad Nezam Uddin said they are footballers and play in different football leagues in Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, Ghanaian football club, Tema Youth SC has denied that the duo are former players of the club.
Tema Youth in a statement said the players have never been a part of the club.
“We wish to state emphatically that the aforementioned players have NEVER been part of Tema Youth Sporting Club at any point in time in their career as footballers, neither have they any link whatsoever to Tema Youth Sporting Club,” the statement said.
What is yaba
Hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh have become hooked on yaba – a mixture of methamphetamine (also known as crystal meth) and caffeine sold as cheap red or pink pills.
The drug’s easy availability and the chaos it is causing in Bangladesh has resulted in the government declaring a “zero-tolerance policy” that some claim involves summary execution by law enforcement agencies.
A psychiatrist Ashique Selim in Dhaka told the BBC that yaba has filled a unique role in Bangladesh, a nation where alcohol is not freely available, and drinking is often frowned upon.
“I had a gentleman who came to me who’d led a pretty straight life. His parents were very conservative. So when his friends would go out and have a few beers, he wouldn’t do that because he didn’t want to come home smelling of drink. Then in his 30s he came across yaba. So there were no visual changes in the way he looked, and there was no smell. And when he was having small doses there was no effect the day after.”
But yaba users struggle to keep their habit purely recreational.