February 11, 2016, in Dakar, in two operations conducted by elements of Urban Safety, the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, and the Senegal project, Implementation of the Wildlife Act (SALF), three traffickers: More Cissé, El hadji Beye, and Massamba Mbaye, were arrested in flagrante delicto for having, circulating, and marketing protected species in Senegal. They were indeed in possession of 271 objects of sculpted ivory representing five and a half kilos of elephant ivory, and 256 tusks of warthogs, with a total value estimated at 8.5 million CFA.
It is important to remember that the trafficking of elephant ivory increasingly finances terrorist movements such as Al-Shabaab, the Janjaweed, Boko Haram, etc. These jihadists are the pivots of the ivory trade in Africa. Indeed, the ivory would provide about 40% of funds needed for the Al-Shabaab group to stay in business and destabilize East Africa and Central Africa. These terrorist movements involve Senegal, which cares deeply and is currently reinforcing its security of the entire territory. Now this is also of concern in West Africa. In neighboring Mali, since early 2015, one fifth of the elephants have been killed to supply illegal ivory, according to MINUSMA, keeping a mission of peace. This increase is related to the activities of jihadist groups in the country.
Concerning the 271 tusks of warthog, or 136 slaughtered animals [sic], the seizure amounts to 4,500,000 CFA. The ivory of this friendly well-known swine in our regions is certainly less luxurious than that of the elephant but very popular with sculpture lovers. The three traffickers arrested, according to law, possessed no authorization to capture or collect or market this animal that is highly poached for its meat. In Senegal it is “cheap” and its tusks easy to carve and impersonate elephant ivory. It is sought by traders of art crafts in the country.
In June 2015, multiple operations concerning elephant products (elephant hair jewelry) and famous Dakar jewelers had resulted in their release following a financial transaction with the Ministry of Environment under section L23 of the code of wildlife and hunting in Senegal. Regarding the elephant, it is a fully protected species and rapidly disappearing in Africa (100 elephants are killed every day in Africa for their ivory according to the UN). They are the subject of a massive international traffic. The illegal wildlife trade is a transnational organized crime. It occupies the fifth place of the illicit trade in the world, following drugs, weapons, money laundering, and human trafficking, amassing profits of about $ 20 billion each year. This illicit trade is linked to corruption, money laundering, and trafficking of other products such as weapons and drugs. It generates instability in Africa and maintains terrorism. Ivory trafficking, which is an environmental, economic, and security crisis, has become a major concern for world governments.