Congo-Environment-Security

Congo cracks smuggling ring, 90kg ivory stockpile seized

APA-Brazzaville (Congo) By Leon Charles Moukouri

Six poachers found with 41 ivory tips of nearly 90 kg were rounded up in the department of the Basin-West, in the north of Congo.

The seizure was made by eco-guards and elements of the Congolese gendarmerie during an exercise, according to a statement from the ministry of Forest Economy seen Tuesday by APA.

“The 90 kg of seized ivory spikes is tantamount to a massacre of twenty elephants" the statement indicates, adding that "the arrest of the six poachers took place on 5 February in Itoumbi district (department of Bowl-west in northern Congo) ".

The all-Congolese poachers are members of a ring including buyers of ivory tips, carriers, sellers and resellers, the statement points out.

“They had been enjoying a certain laxity and cross-border connections in Gabon allowing them to continually circumvent security officers. This time, they have been apprehended and stopped. They will be prosecuted for their illegal practices,” the statement says.

According to Congolese law, people prosecuted for importing, detaining, illegally circulating and selling products of a fully protected animal species (elephant) will be sentenced to up to five years in prison in addition to heavy fines.

The Forest Economy ministry complains that “wildlife crime in the Republic of Congo continues to grow in almost all departments of the Congo despite efforts to educate people about the protected species.”


LCM/odl/te/pn/as/APA

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