Conservation Justice aims to protect elephants in addition to other threatened species in Gabon from illegal hunting and wildlife trade by increasing the level of wildlife law enforcement nationwide and deterring potential elephant poachers and ivory traders from conducting these activities. Conservation Justice collaborates closely with LAGA (www.laga-enforcement.org) and follows its methods.
Andeme Mba Marie-Gisele, Anveme Nkoulou Djimi and Nkoulou Serge Patrick were found Feb. 17, guilty of theft of wood in the forest license of the TTIB society. The company has been the victim of various thefts of Kevazingo orchestrated by these three individuals, since 2014.
It is following a complaint against X in January 2015 that Ms. Marie-Gisèle Andeme Mba and coauthors Anveme Nkoulou Djimi and Nkoulou Serge Patrick were arrested. Mr. Anveme Nkoulou Djimi, who holds a salvage license that specifies the villages where the recovery of wood is to be made, was seized with a truck containing 2 Kévazingos out of TTIB’s forest license. This is an unauthorized exploitation relocation prohibited by the Forest Code.
Furthermore, it appears that the wood used throughout this type of permit recovery or auctions is often freshly cut and not reclaimed wood. Andeme Mba Marie-Gisèle had also recovered a Kevazingo log in the permit in question with an authorization of recovery belonging to a certain ESSIW A Dedric, an offense to the forestry code because the authorization of recovery is individual and not transferable.
Although known in the region for illegal exploitation, Nkoulou Serge Patrick was found not guilty of the crime of theft and was released. Andeme Mba Marie-Gisele and Anveme Nkoulou Djimi were convicted of stealing. They were sentenced to one month imprisonment and 250,000 FCFA fine. A warrant was issued at the oral hearing.
This is a rare conviction for illegal logging and it is to be obviously encouraged. However, it is clear that sanctions are not dissuasive when we know that these illegal exploitations generate hundreds of millions of CFA Francs and are widespread in this area of the country.
The Intervention Brigade of the Judicial Police arrested last Wednesday at Nombakélé, near the Marché Artisanal, KOITA Alassane and YATTASSAYE Ali, both Malians and sellers at the craft market and NDONG Chancel Cedric, a Gabonese sculptor in possession of two elephant tusks.
These three gentlemen were caught in the act of cutting the ivory. Two (2) tusks weighing respectively 14.2 kg and 12.5 kg for a total weight of 26.7 kg and a balance were seized.
On the official report on the premises of the judicial police, Ali YATTASSAYE and KOITA Alassane admitted having bought the two defenses for 600 000 FCFA and enlisted the help of Mr. Cédric Chancel NDONG to cut it into pieces in order to sell them.
Trafficking of species continues to thrive despite efforts by the authorities. The craft market is proving to be a major focus of wildlife products traffic because in four years, at least three operations helped to seize large quantities of products of carved ivory, bags crocodile skins, belts of animal skins, etc.
The Judicial Police demonstrates once again that it is also committed to fighting on the ground against wildlife crime, having made numerous arrests of major traffickers in Libreville and the rest of the country.
Mr Obiang NDONG Marcel and Mr Emanuel ALLONGIFOR who had been arrested for hunting of a fully protected species and illegal possession of ivory tusks last October by the Medouneu gendarmerie were ultimately judged last Tuesday.
NDONG OBIANG Marcel and ALLONGIFOR Emanuel were found guilty of the offense of hunting a fully protected species and illegal possession of ivory tusks. They were sentenced to 6 months imprisonment and a fine of 1,500,000 FCFA.
As a reminder, on October 28, 2014, Mr Obiang NDONG Marcel had killed an elephant within 500m of his plantation. According to him, the elephant had devastated many plantations in the Nkoualla village near Medouneu. After shooting the elephant, Mr Obiang NDONG Marcel went to the Medouneu gendarmerie to inform the police.
However, Mr Obiang Ndong Marcel had removed the tusks of the elephant and had sold them to Mr Emanuel ALLONGIFOR at a price of 300,000 FCFA. He had been arrested by the gendarmerie in possession of that ivory tips (2).
This is a network of well-organized ivory traffickers dismantled here thanks to the efforts of the gendarmerie in Medouneu involved in the increased poaching which gives a bad image to Gabon.
In line with its activitieson supportingthe implementation of theWildlife Actand the fight againstillegal logging, was held onWednesday, January 28, 2015, atraining seminarfor the gendarmesassigned tobrigades in Franceville. Thisworking sessionchaired by the Presidentof the Court ofFrancevilletook placein theProvincial Directorateofthemeeting roomof the Water and Forestsandthe theme “The laws governingForest, Wildlife and Aquatic Ecosystems.”
Organized by theProvincial DirectorateofForestryand ConservationJustice,the workshopaimed to giveparticipantsthe necessarybasicsfor a better understandingof ivory traffickingandillegal logging.Also,the objectives wereto build capacity trainingfor the protectionof wildlife andthe forest,know andmaster thecriminal proceedings,informthe agentsbenefitfrom thesethemesthat constitutethe State’sprioritiesbut alsocommunities andcreate adynamic networkto shareexperiences.
This sessionfocused onfour activeinterventionsof the participants.The NGOConservation Justiceopenedthe session byemphasizingthe specificityof the ivory trade, pantherskins andapesfrom CentralAfricato other continents. Then, the Registrar ofBatékéPlateauxParkintroduced thelegislation governingnational parksoffensesbefore the headoffice of theWildlifeProvincial Directorateof Water and Forestsrecalledthelegislation onwildlife protectionand wild plants. The Presidentof the Tribunal,Madame FrédériqueBITARpresentedto agentsthe procedure applicable tooffensesofForestry.
Finally, the processofquestions and answerswas initiatedbeforethe sessionclosed.
It is hopedthat such exchangesandtrainingwill yieldconcrete results inthe fight againsttrafficking of ivorybut also of wood. Thelegislationis quite lowbut strictwith the involvementof all partieswouldhaveto curbthese phenomena whichare costlyto the state andthreateningthe heritage andGabonecological balance.