By Khephren Fanga
Last Saturday, an ivory dealer named Daouda Tounkara Sambou was arrested in Libreville in possession of 33 kilograms of ivory by the Intervention Brigade of the Judicial Police, assisted by Conservation Justice. Residing in Koulamoutou, he had traveled to Libreville in order to sell them on the black market.
Arrested in Louis with a bag containing 8 tusks of ivory cut into 12 pieces, Mr. Tounkara Sambou said he did not know the contents of the bag and it was not for him, yet after he confessed to planning to sell them.
Koulamoutou is now known as another hub for poaching in Gabon. The intention to sell ivory in Libreville also shows that there is indeed a network, if a not a market for the sale of ivory in Libreville.
Also worrying is the fact that Mr. Tounkara Sambou was able to go from Koulamoutou to Libreville without being intercepted earlier by ground controls. The case was forwarded to Libreville prosecutor yesterday morning, according to the Forest Code in Gabon, he risks up to 6 months imprisonment, a ridiculous sentence when we know that the value of the ivory is estimated at more than 3 million FCFA (6000 US Dollars) and that it is only a tiny fraction of the annual revenue of the trafficker.
According to an officer of the intervention brigade of the police, “This arrest would not have been possible without the collaboration of Conservation Justice, we took him in the act with the intent to sell the ivory. He must now be severely punished as an example for others who try to do the same.”
The police chief also relayed congratulations for the arrest while expressing his desire to see Mr Tounkara Sambou received a hard sentence. "Poaching is a growing phenomenon despite arrests; we must strike hard to get meaningful results."
The case was referred to the trial court in Libreville, the trial will be held Monday, November 24th.