By Khephren Fanga
Wildlife crime is a reality in Gabon including elephants slaughtered in large numbers through structured and heavily armed teams, activated by ivory traffickers who supply the global ivory market.
It was during a mission organized by the Haut-Ogooué Provincial Director of Water and Forests Lucien Massoukou and the Judicial Police, assisted by Conservation Justice and under the supervision of Cantonment Manager Leconi, Mr. Jean Louis Kakoua , that a trafficker who was about to finalize a sale of elephant ivory (about 18 kg) was arrested on February 25 in Mounana (Southeast Gabon).
Mohamed, was caught in the act of marketing, transport and detention of species fully protected products in the company of his brother and accomplice named NDJOUHOU Eugene, a teacher by profession. Two of his accomplices are on the run, including Mr Serge MAMOUAKA Crispin who also had the role of seller.
Yet another case that illustrates the concerns of the UNODC (United Nations Office against Drugs and Crime) in the report that the UN agency had delivered to the Gabonese government. As mentioned recently in the newspaper L’Union, the report was an alarming report on wildlife crime in Gabon and showed also "flaws in the national legislative body, which would not be suitable to international conventions designed to fight against wildlife and forest crime.”
Indeed, these wildlife criminals will get at most to imprisonment for three to six months and a fine of 100,000 to 10 million CFA francs according to the Forest Code. This is small compared to neighboring countries where the ivory traffickers risk 5 years in prison in Congo, three years in Cameroon, ten years in Benin and a sentence of life imprisonment in Kenya! It is therefore understandable that Gabon continues to be a country targeted by ivory dealers and mafia networks, a real threat to national security.