CAMEROUN :: Cameroon:Ivory trafficker arrested in Yoko
CAMEROUN :: SOCIETE CAMEROUN :: Cameroon:Ivory trafficker arrested in Yoko
  • : Franck BAFELI With LAGA
  • lundi 17 juillet 2017 16:16:45
  • 1518

CAMEROUN :: Cameroon:Ivory trafficker arrested in Yoko

A trafficker was arrested on Wednesday July 5, 2017 in Yoko in the Centre region as he attempted to sell two ivory tusks. Wildlife officials from the Centre Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife travelled over 300 km to the town located in the Mbam and Kim Division of the Centre Region to carry out the operation that involved close collaboration with the police and LAGA, a wildlife law enforcement NGO that provided technical support.

The suspect arrived on a bike clutching the bag, where the ivory tusks were stored, close to his back. He had cut the tusks into four pieces weighing 18kg for easy transportation on the motocycle. Wildlife officials who were simply waiting for his arrival quickly swooped in, seizing the bag and getting him handcuffed immediately. The experienced trafficker seemed to have understood his time was up and tried some diversionary tactics in lame attempts to flee. He then resisted being put into the car that immediately travelled to Ntui from Yoko, considered to be a difficult area for wildlife law enforcement operations.

Several attempts at arresting wildlife traffickers in this area have met with dismal failure because of complicity and corruption going on among some officials and wildlife traffickers. This is not the first attempt at arresting this particular trafficker. He narrowly escaped arrest last year in the same town and it is believed by those who worked on the operation that information was leaked by local officials. Explaining why the team had to leave from Yaounde, the Controller No. 3 at the regional delegation Ngnondete John who was head of the team said “It is to avoid leakage of information because generally in Yoko information is not well kept. When information is not well kept as it is the case, {law enforcement} missions fail”

The difficulties doing law enforcement operations in the town has given it a very poor reputation within conservation circles as trafficking is done with impunity and some officials seem to be involved. The news of the arrest was received with satisfaction among conservationists and wildlife officials in Yaounde. Many expressed hope that this is the beginning of a new wave of law enforcement operations in the area that is flooded with traffickers and poachers of several protected wildlife species.

The illegal trade in ivory is said to be causing the calamitous decline in elephant populations. Traffickers keep teams of poachers who do the work of shooting and cutting off the ivory from the elephants. The trafficker arrested in Yoko was no different. He had a team of poachers to whom he supplied food, bullets and other poaching accessories, according to preliminary investigations. The investigations also revealed that he did business with a Douala-based trafficker who made regularly trips to meet him.

Hours after the Yoko operation, a total of 7.2 tons of ivory was seized in Hong Kong, by customs that arrested three people – a man and two women. A container declared to be transporting frozen fish was found to be loaded with ivory. Cartons of fish were removed to uncover ivory beneath. Trafficking of this magnitude starts with ivory transactions as the one in Yoko.

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