Ivory trafficking: An ”Apostle” caught in the net (Gabon)


Stevie Mounombou, Gabon Review

Date Published

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. 

Known under the pseudonym of “Apostle”, Jean Baptiste Essono Mba, a 24-year-old Gabonese, was arrested in possession of two ivory tusks on October 28 in Mitzic, in the province of Woleu-Ntem. 

It was during a joint operation of the agents of the General Directorate of Research (DGR) and the provincial delegation of Water and Forests of Woleu-Ntem, supported by the NGO Conservation Justice.

An Agent in a security company in the city, the alleged trafficker had for a while been suspected of ivory trafficking. It was an alert given by a source on a possible ivory transaction in Mitzic that these suspicions were confirmed. Informed, the agents formed a mixed team to proceed with the arrest. 

Arriving in Mitzic around 9 a.m., officers noticed the suspicious presence of an individual carrying a green bag at the location indicated. The suspect was immediately arrested.

DGR agents seized his backpack and discovered two raw ivory tusks. During his interrogation, Jean Baptiste Essono Mba claimed to have picked up the two ivory tusks at the edge of a river in his village (Ayon) on the road to Sam. He is currently in custody in the premises of the DGR of Oyem. 

The indelicate is referred to the special formation of the Court of Libreville before being placed under a committal warrant. He faces up to ten years in prison and a fine equal to five times the value of the seizure.