— Anti-poaching: fines and imprisonment for ten hunters in Ouesso (Republic of the Congo)


Agence d’Information d’Afrique Centrale

Date Published

Translated from French by an automated online translation service, so please excuse the roughness. See link for original. Thank you to Anne Dillon for volunteering time to finding these French articles and doing the online translating.

The Court of Ouesso sentenced ten wildlife offenders to imprisonment sentences and heavy fines in a correctional hearing on 19 November 2015.

The sentences, varying between eighteen months and five years of imprisonment, are firm or conditional depending on the seriousness of the infringing poacher. Similarly, fines range between fifty thousand and one million CFA francs in damages.
For the graft against the same court, it was confirmed that, on 3 December, the fate of five other wildlife offenders will be announced. They were arrested by the Ministry of Forest Economy and Sustainable Development (MEFDD) and services of the Global Fund project Nature, Space Tridom Interzone Congo (WWF – ETIC), anti-poaching Surveillance Unit (USLAB) Tala-Tala, and the National Park Odzala-Kokoua. This case involves David Doum, recidivist Dali Rodrigue, Konda Gaston, Joseph and the famous Massehou DILA Hughes.
Some of these offenders are detained at the prison for killing strictly protected animal species or for detention of complicity trophies of animals protected by Congolese wildlife law, like the elephant, gorilla, leopard, guereza colobus—or penetration into a protected area or to slaughter a partially protected species without a valid hunting license.
No firmness
Complacency of some judges during certain hearings is sometimes deplored by some organizations where project managers work for anti-poaching. A Ouesso example: communities have reported that there are poachers who are sometimes detained and released without trial by the competent authority. Theophilus Mbangui, brigade leader of the anti-poaching Surveillance Unit (USLAB) Tala-Tala lamented: “As regards judgments, I wish there was an all-round firmness concerning sentences. It is challenging that poachers, being released three days later, begin to taunt us on the phone.”
Poaching Frequency
Just refer to the eating habits of the communities and the search system of easy money to estimate the high rate of poaching in the surrounding villages of the Ouesso Prefecture. “Following the hearing of Mr Hugues Dila, I can say that the old demons have caught up as it is not his first crime. For a period of one week, we were able to call out two or three poachers,” recognizes Theophilus Mbangui.
In the Sangha, projects working for the conservation of wildlife provide incentives of conduct, for several communities, on the importance of the conservation of rare and endangered animal species. For example, the district Sembé has the ETIC project, a collaboration between the Ministry of Forest Economy and WWF, which informs communities to think for future generations.
“We hold regular meetings and distribute leaflets on animal species with a protection status. We also inform these communities and local authorities about the problem of elephant poaching. We see a rapid decline of elephant populations in our intervention areas (Districts Souanke, Ngbala, Sembe). If nothing is done to bypass the ivory trade, elephants will disappear in much of Northern Congo—and the forest will change forever. This is what happened in the DRC. We need to avoid this fate in northern Congo,” says Cornelius Moukson Kutia, legal assistant WWF-ETIC.
Fortuné Ibara