Togo: Five ivory traffickers transferred to Sokodé civil prison


Alwihda Info

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. 

The new penal code in force in the country, in its environment component, strengthens the protection of fauna and flora. 

The alleged traffickers arrested in flagrante delicto of possession, circulation and illegal marketing of two large elephant tusks on 26 and 27 August 2022 in Sokodé, were brought to the civil prison of Sokodé, on 29 August 2022.

The arrest was made possible thanks to agents of the Research and Investigation Brigade (BRI) of the Sokodé police and the Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources (MERF), in collaboration with EAGLE-Togo.

These alleged traffickers who were arrested just as they were about to sell the two large elephant tusks, a species fully protected by national laws and the CITES Convention, have all acknowledged that the sale or marketing of ivory is prohibited.

Once arrested, kazimna Pakoubadi, Tassou Faladèma, Kiza Metozoué (shoemaker, owner of the two large spikes), Inoussa Nourri (healer) and Sonhaye Agbala are first taken into custody at the BRI, before being brought to the civil prison of Sokodé, after having admitted the facts accused of them before the prosecutor. They face a prison sentence ranging from one to five years and a fine of one million to fifty million CFA francs.

The alleged traffickers, all of Togolese nationality, were taken by the elements of the BRI in the middle of negotiating the sale of the two large elephant tusks that they meticulously packed in fresh giant grass before hiding them in a bag of 100 kilograms. However, Togo has adopted a forestry code, not to mention the efforts to seize ivory from other countries.

Also, the new penal code in its environmental aspect reinforces the protection of fauna and flora in its article 761 which punishes with a maximum of five years in prison and fifty million fines, any person who directly or indirectly markets without right, a protected animal species. The international ivory trade has been declared illegal since 1989, but African elephant populations continue to decline.

Every year, 20,000 to 30,000 elephants are killed for their ivories, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); equivalent between 50 to 80 per day. The species now has only 415,000 individuals in Africa, compared to 3 to 5 million at the beginning of the last century.

It should be remembered that two main factors are considered to be the cause of this drastic decline in the number of elephants: on the one hand, the increase in poaching linked to the strong international demand for ivory and on the other hand, the abusive exploitation of the natural resources necessary for elephants due to industrial agriculture and anarchic occupations of their habitat.