Army officer arrested for trafficking elephant meat in Congo
Khephren Fanga, Gabonews
November 23, 2014
BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo – on the 18th of November, a joint operationbetween the Forestry and Sustainable Development Ministry, the Gendarmerie and the PresidentialGuard, with the support of PALF (Project for the Application of Law for Fauna), brought about the arrest of 5 traffickers, caught red-handed trafficking elephant meat to Brazzaville. The elephant meat, an integrally protected species, was seized along with other wildlife that were partially protected, as was a pistol and the vehicle the suspects used to traffic the contraband.
“The Lieutenant, reputed in northern Congo for his involvement in the illegal ivory trade, is a major catch. While the Congolese law is strict for corrupt authorities, they often evade conviction. We have to stop the impunity if we are to stop this trend in Central Africa which is threatening forest elephants with extinction.”said Naftali Honig, PALF Coordinator.
This is the first time an officer in the Congolese armed forces is transferred to Court. He, along with two other corrupt accomplices, spent 2 days in custody where they were interrogated about the nature of their infractions. “Their sense of being above the law was palpable,” said Honig. “They loosely threw around the names of Colonels and Generals they claimed to be affiliated with, in an effort to scare the officers charged with interrogating them. I hopethis feeling of impunity has crashed now that they’re in the Brazzaville Prison.”
News of the arrest spread quickly in Congo, and talk of the subject could be heard in northern Congo, as some were shocked to learn that a vehicle could be intercepted.
PALF is a member of the EAGLE Network. EAGLE Network has projectslike PALF bringing about arrests and prosecutions in eight countries in Africa, soon to be more.