Human-elephant conflict: Lee White launches exchanges with the population (Gabon)


Griffin Ondo Nzuey, Gabon Review

Date Published

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

See link for photos.  

Almost two months after the clashes in Mékambo, which led to numerous arrests of demonstrators and a local elected official, the government is once again focusing on awareness. 

This Wednesday, Professor Lee White and Charles Mve Ella, accompanied by their colleague Michel Menga M’Essone, were in the town of Cocobeach, in the province of the Estuary. The Minister of Water and Forests and his deputy minister thus launched the “Provincial consultations on the human-elephant conflict”.

Initiated several weeks after the descent to Mékambo of ministers from the province of Ogooué-Ivindo—who had been instructed by Prime Minister Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda to go and raise awareness among the populations who were reacting to the inaction of the authorities in the conflict, which pits peasants against pachyderms who devastate their plantations thus endangering their physical, social and economic integrity—these consultations aim to “discuss with the populations in order to strengthen the system to fight against this scourge”, explains the Ministry of Water and Forests.

For Professor Lee White and Charles Mve Ella, it will be a question of recalling what has already been done in the context of the management of this conflict, of discussing the government’s plans relating thereto, and above all of explaining the draft decree adopted by the Council of Ministers, on June 10, which authorizes the execution of administrative battles and, if necessary, the use of the right of self-defense by the populations [who are] victims of this conflict.

These exchanges with the populations will continue until July 29. The two managers of Eaux et Forêts should be accompanied by their colleagues from the province at every stage. They will not escape the question of compensation for victims of plantation devastation.