Ouesso’s judicial body finally convicted at the end of the hearing held on October 27, the ivory trafficker Abbo Hamadou and his accomplices: Minda Xavier and Gonock Evounanga Edgard, with five years imprisonment each.
The latter are also ordered to pay to the departmental department of the forestry economy, the sum of 1,000,000 CFA francs, in respect of the damages inflicted, as well as a sum of 500,000 CFA fines. They are also accused of marketing nine ivory tusks, and the slaughter of and complicity in the elephant slaughter. It was an organized gang that used a weapon of war (Kalachinikov AK47) to kill these elephants. On the day of the trial at the Ouesso court, the Ministry of Forestry Economy benefited from the support of the master, Jean Philip Esseau, a member of the law firm Esseau, who joined the ETIC project to help in the prosecution of wildlife criminals.
Indeed, these offenders had been arrested in July of the same year on the interpellation Sembé of Police with the support of the anti-poaching patrol the conservation project control, Space Tridom Interzone Congo (ETIC), a joint project between the Ministry of forest Economy, sustainable Development and Environment and the World Wide Fund for nature (WWF).
Recall that this is not Abbo Hamadou’s first crime. He was also arrested March 20, 2015, at Sembé by a patrol of the ETIC project, for illegal possession of a weapon of war that he used to organize hunting parties to hunt the elephant.
He was sentenced on 7 May of the same year to three months’ imprisonment by the Tribunal de Ouesso but did not serve his sentence, having obtained from the sentencing judge a leave of absence to have symptoms of disease that he presented with treated. But, alas, he did not return to fulfill the terms of his punishment.
Environmental activists say that elephants have already disappeared from a large part of the forests of the Congo Basin due to poaching for ivory trafficking. The forests of northern Congo are among the rare areas that shelter elephants, they added.
These activists welcomed the efforts of the country that is firmly committed to applying an elephant conservation policy, so that our children can still browse through the forest and follow the footsteps of these intelligent and social animals.
In April 2015, for example, the President of the Republic cremated five tons of ivory seized from traffickers on the sidelines of the international conference on illegal logging and illegal trade in wildlife products and wild flora, to mark the strong commitment of countries in the fight against poaching of elephants.
It was in this spirit of bringing solutions to the problems inherent in the application of wildlife law that a workshop on conservation, security, and justice was held in Ouesso last September. This workshop was attended by judicial authorities, lawyers, law enforcement, water and forest administration members and those involved with conservation projects. Environmental activists commented that the Ouesso court’s conviction—of two traffickers of ivory and panther skins— to five years’ imprisonment in September, followed by the new five-year sentence of the offender Abbo Hamadou and his accomplices, show that Congolese justice no longer has tolerance for those who want to destroy our wildlife heritage, pride of the country. For them, a firm application of the Congolese law is necessary to deter wildlife criminals from engaging in the ignoble ivory trade.
They point out that there are currently nearly empty elephant areas, adding that the elephant is also a cultivator of the forest, spreading heavy seeds of trees thus ensuring their regeneration.