The administrative authorities of Sérédou, a French administrative subdivision of Macenta in the south of Guinea, in collaboration with mounted police and agents of the organization of the Conservatives of Nature, on September 8, 2016, arrested a suspected poacher in Sébéla, a village in the area.
Pokpa Soropogui had participated in the slaughter of an elephant species fully protected by the Wildlife Code and regulations of hunting in Guinea and by the Washington Convention. After the hearing, the alleged poacher was brought before the justice of the peace in Macenta, with technical support from GALF (Guinea Application of the Wildlife Act) and FFI (Fauna and Flora International), to be heard in the coming days.
In his explanation, the alleged perpetrator of this wildlife crime said that it was because of the incessant demands of the notables of Šebela, who complained about the presence of elephants of the Ziama reserve in their community, that he took part in the slaughter of elephants on August 22, accompanied by his uncle ouret Koivogui, all originating in the village of Irié, Foromo Koivogui and his young brother Mory of the village of Sébéla.
He said his uncle ouret Koivogui, a great hunter and recognized for his zeal in killing elephants, had died on the field. The other two perpetrators, Foromo Koivogui and Mory, took to their heels given that the investigations were launched by the Sérédou police station and the administrative and forest authorities of the locality.
Asked how he found himself in this situation, Sieur Pokpa says he was approached by his father who said that his late uncle, the fiery elephant killer on the Ziama reserve, wanted Sieur Pokpa to become his apprentice. Thus, he acknowledges having held a weapon that had been offered by the uncle with which indeed he would have participated in many missions of butchery of elephants in the land.
He had affirmed during his hearing at the police station of Sébéla that he was in his third foray to kill an elephant, after the failure of two forays wherein no elephants were killed. According to the code of fauna and hunting regulations, such intrigues are not tolerable. Article 162 of the code of fauna punishes hunting with firearms with a sentence of three months to one year’s imprisonment and of a fine 50,000 to 100,000 GNF.
Section 161 of the Code punishes the slaughter of fully protected species with imprisonment ranging from six months to one year and a fine of 70,000 to 150,000 GNF. Regarding the slaughter of fully protected species, the law provides that imprisonment is mandatory according to the same article 161. It remains to be seen whether the Macenta justice of the peace will act firmly against such a crime against rare and endangered wildlife species.
Already, the activists of GALF, the Department of the Environment made up of a civil section through the legal agent of the state, and the international community, are following this case very closely. According to them, the maximum sentence must be inflicted on this historical poacher who acted in full knowledge of the facts. The forest area has nowadays become a real theater of ivory trafficking and protected animal species. The ivory of elephants killed in the forests of Guinea feeds the national and international traffic in ivory.
With the breaking news, the weapon of supposed poacher was seized and entrusted to the police of Macenta. The accused was put in custody at the end of the hearing, awaiting trial. The investigations continue. Sérédou police officers and Šebela, supported by the body of conservationists, continue the investigation to find the other two perpetrators who are on the run.
It should be recalled that the trafficking of species is a transnational trade. It represents the world’s fifth largest crime, piling up more than 20 million dollars [sic] each year. With such an illicit sum, the financing of terrorist activities by the traffickers and their band on this international scale is not to be neglected. To be continued!