Poaching: Three Years of Imprisonment for Two Criminals Based in the Sangha (Republic of the Congo)


Agence d’Information d’Afrique Centrale/Brazzaville

Date Published
Translated from French by an automated online translation service, so please excuse the roughness. See link for original. Thank you to Anne Dillon for volunteering her time to find these French articles and doing the online translating.

The Court of Ouesso sentenced two poachers to three years’ imprisonment after hearing Corrections, December 3, in the said locality. Poachers Doum David and Alfred Gokananga Bola were arrested for poaching elephant with a weapon of war by the anti-poaching teams of the Ministry of Forest Economy and Sustainable Development (Mefdd)—Space Tridom Interzone ETIC, respectively, on August 21 and 29 in the 

locality of Sembé. The weapon of war has been seized but the ivories were already sold. The poachers will pay for their involvement in the massacre of elephants, each being sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. They must each pay the sum of three million CFA francs to the Departmental Forest Economy (DDEF) for damages.
The files of two wildlife offenders being deliberated by the court have been the subject of legal assistance from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), an international NGO working for the protection of nature and the environment and supporting the ETIC project.
According to a source close to the court, these offenders are repeat offenders. They have been jailed in the past for the same reasons. In 2012, the poacher Alfred Gokananga Bola was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. The same year, he had acquired from the court of Ouesso, a provisional release for an illness and it was declared that he follow medical care in the hospitals of the place, but he did not return to prison to serve his sentence after being treated.
In December 2014, David Doum was arrested by ETIC and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment by the Court of Ouesso. Fifteen days later, he escaped from the prison of Ouesso, on January 3, 2015, and was caught again by August 21 of the same year. Because of these escapes, the prosecutor had requested seven years’ imprisonment for Doum. “Now that once again David Doum is convicted of elephant poaching, it is important that he is serving his sentence, because escapes and liberations make the application of the law difficult in the Congo,” says a man who requires anonymity.  
The various inventories of large fauna undertaken by NGOs on the ground show that elephant populations in the area of Espace Interzone Tridom Congo (districts Souanké, Sembé, and Ngbala) are declining. Africa and the world in general, and the Congo in particular, are worried about the future of the elephant in Africa.
A firm and complete application of the law is a mandatory condition to fight large-scale poaching that threatens a unique legacy of the Congo: the magnificent elephant that has always existed in our forests and is known for his social, emotional, and family complexities. Whenever an elephant is killed, it’s a family drama and, increasingly, the surviving elephants are forced to live without their father, mother, grandfather . . . 
However, the Congo has its own legislation ensuring the rational exploitation of these wildlife resources, Law No. 37-2008 of 28 November 2008, on wildlife and protected areas, is one example. This law criminalizes the slaughter of a fully protected species and hunting with a weapon. In Article 113, it also provides for firm imprisonment for 2 to 5 years. Recall that the Tridom project deals with the conservation of transboundary biodiversity in the Dja-Odzala-crossing of Minkébé-parks respectively based in Cameroon, Congo, and Gabon.