Strong convictions in Benin against ivory traffickers

by Luc Mathot
Strong convictions in Benin against ivory traffickers

After the conviction of Moussa Bawa Bello and Alidou Mama to three years imprisonment, it was the turn of their accomplices. TANKOUANOU Valentine BOUNDJA Lény, BINDJA Soumaila, IDITI Soulidja YONLY Djabouaro and André were sentenced on Tuesday, October 7th at the same prison time, 3 years’ imprisonment. They must also pay a fine of 500,000 CFA francs each and 2,000,000 in damages to CENAGREF (National Centre for Wildlife Reserves Management). Wombo Boudjali and Jonathan Yombo have meanwhile been acquitted for lack of evidence.

They were arrested on the outskirts of the park Pendjari as a result of operations conducted by the judicial police, the gendarmerie and CENGREF agents. A seizure of 56 kg of ivory had also been achieved last August 22, 2014 at Tanguieta. This was facilitated by the support of the program Law Enforcement Support on the fauna and flora in Benin, AALF-B, and the NGO Conservation Justice. Note that Valentin TANKOUANOU is employed by CENAGREF and facilitated poaching in the park Penjdari, he was supposed to protect!

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56 kg ivory seized in Tanguita

Benin here tackles important ivory networks around its flagship park, but also against international ivory trafficking from other countries. Indeed, on August 12, three people were arrested in Cotonou with 30 kg of ivory that would come from Central Africa and more specifically from Gabon. ANGO Djafarou, Cisse Seybou and DIAWARA Mamade who must also answer for their actions in the month of October. The fight against ivory trafficking must inevitably be transnational and based on laws and dissuasive sanctions.

The maximum penalty under the Benin wildlife law provides in Articles 153, 154, 155, 166, 158 and imprisonment of up to five years for poaching of protected species or marketing their products. The maximum penalty in the Gabon Forest Code is still only six months in prison, making it one of the weakest laws in African countries in this regard.