Gabon/Ngounié: Three alleged ivory traffickers arrested in Mouila and Lébamba


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Translated from the French by an automated online translation service, so please excuse the roughness. See link for the French original. 

See link for photo. 

A specialized team to combat trafficking in protected species and illegal wildlife trade destabilizes a group of wildlife traffickers operating in the city of Mouila.

Indeed, following a recent operation in the city of Lastourville, two new interventions coordinated by a mixed team composed of agents of the branch of the Judicial Police of Mouila and those of the Provincial Directorate of Water and Forests, supported by the NGO Conservation Justice have just neutralized an alleged wildlife trafficker and two of his alleged accomplices.

Two days after a similar operation in Lastourville that resulted in the arrest of an alleged trafficker, his two accomplices and the flight of a third recidivist accomplice, another mixed team formed in the province of Ngounié deployed in the city of Mouila and Lébamba to carry out a joint mission to fight wildlife trafficking. 

This mission will give rise to two interventions that will allow the successive arrest of an entrepreneur in Mouila and two of his accomplices in Lébamba.

In Mouila, the entrepreneur, who would be the broker of the group was first arrested at the time when He was preparing to conclude a transaction of sale of six (6) ivory tusks in total, including 4 cut into eight (8) pieces.

The rest of the investigations will lead the agents of the mixed team on the trail of the one who would be the owner of the ivory tusks. He will be arrested in Lébamba with another member of the group a few hours later.

Back in Mouila and at the time of the search at the camp of the third member of the group arrested in Lébamba, the officers will discover and seize a large-scale hunting equipment including two (2) weapons of type 12 and several ammunition of great hunting (caliber 458).

According to information gathered from a source close to the case, the owner of the ivories would be known to the judicial police services for having been arrested and convicted for the same acts in May 2017.

The three members of the group were taken into custody at the premises of the judicial police in Mouila pending their transfer to Libreville before being presented to the special prosecutor’s office.

The alleged traffickers will have to answer for the facts of detention and attempted marketing of ivory. They face up to ten years in prison in accordance with the provisions of Article 388 of the Penal Code.

The cases of recidivism that have appeared in these two operations challenge the actors involved in the application of wildlife legislation on the treatment of criminal sanctions imposed on ivory traffickers who continue to act after a first conviction. 

Three years after the strengthening of the penal policy establishing ivory trafficking as an act of environmental crime in Gabon, these cases should know the sad application of the provisions of Article 388 to guarantee the maintenance of biodiversity, a tourism potential on which Gabon is counting in its strategy of plan to accelerate the transformation planned by the government.