Ouesso court: five years in prison for an ivory trafficker and his accomplices (Republic of the Congo)


Agence d’Information d’Afrique Centrale/Brazzaville.

Date Published

The correctional court of Ouesso finally sentenced in a hearing held on October 27, the ivory dealer Hamadou Abbo and his accomplices—Minda Xavier and Gonock Evounanga Edgard—to five years in prison each. The latter are also ordered to pay to the department of forestry the sum of 1,000,000 CFA francs in respect to the damages inflicted and a sum of 500,000 CFA fines.

They are also accused of marketing nine ivory tusks, and complicity in the elephant slaughter. It is an organized gang that used the weapon of war (Kalachinikov AK47) to kill these elephants.

On the day of the trial at the Ouesso court, the Ministry of Forestry Economy benefited from the support of the master, Jean Philip Esseau, a member of the law firm Esseau, who joined the ETIC project to help in the prosecution of wildlife criminals.

Indeed, these delinquents were arrested in July of the same year by the Sembé police with the support of the anti-poaching patrol of the conservation project, Espace Tridom Interzone Congo (ETIC), a joint project between the Ministry of Forest Economy, Sustainable Development and Environment, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Recall that this is not Abbo Hamadou’s first crime. He was also arrested March 20, 2015, at Sembé by a patrol of the ETIC project, for illegal possession of a weapon of war that he used to organize hunting parties of the elephant. He was sentenced on May 7 of the same year to three months’ imprisonment by the Tribunal de Ouesso but did not serve his sentence, having obtained from the sentencing judge a leave of absence to be treated for symptoms of disease. After that he did not return.

Environmental activists say that elephants have disappeared from a large part of the forests of the Congo Basin due to poaching for the ivory trade. They added that the forests of northern Congo are among the rare areas that shelter elephants. These activists welcome the efforts of the country that is firmly committed to applying an elephant conservation policy, so that our children can still enjoy the forest and follow the footsteps of these intelligent and social animals.

In April 2015, for example, the President of the Republic cremated five tons of ivories seized from traffickers on the sidelines of the international conference on illegal logging and illegal trade in wildlife products and wild flora, to mark the strong commitment of countries in the fight against the poaching of elephants. It is in this spirit of finding solutions to problems inherent in the application of wildlife law, that a workshop on conservation, security, and justice took place in Ouesso last September. This workshop was attended by judicial authorities, lawyers, and members of the law enforcement, water and forest administration and conservation communities.

Environmental activists commented that the Ouesso court’s conviction of two traffickers of ivory and panther skins, to five years’ imprisonment in September, followed by the new five-year sentence of the offender Abbo Hamadou and his accomplices, show that the Congolese justice system no longer has tolerance for those who want to destroy our wildlife heritage, which is the pride of the country. For them, a firm implementation of the Congolese law is needed to deter wildlife criminals from engaging in the vile trade in ivory.

They point out that there are currently areas that are nearly empty of elephants, adding that the elephant is also a cultivator of the forest, spreading seeds of trees and thus ensuring their regeneration.