Two men, Mouvoumbi Moussavou and Ange Moungou, were apprehended for having four elephant tusks on October 9, 2020, in Tchibanga, southern Gabon. The men will be charged and tried in the Libreville Court of First Instance on a date yet to be determined.
Agents of the judicial police arrested the two with the assistance of agents of the Ministry of Water and Forestry and the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Conservation Justice.
The arrest followed a tip-off from sources in Tchibanga town who informed the police and agents of the Ministry of Water and Forestry of an impending ivory sale transaction in a quarter of the city.
Following the tip-off, the said government and NGO agents descended on the location of the transaction. After waiting for several hours, the two elephant tusk peddlers alighted from a vehicle with the tusks inside a bag. They were promptly arrested and taken to the house of Jean Mouvoumbi Moussavou. The investigation led to the seizure of a gun which was used in killing the elephants.
Further investigations revealed that Mouvoumbi Moussavou is a repeat offender as it was discovered that he had been arrested in 2013 for the same offence and sentenced to six months imprisonment.
“The main problem here is not the arrest of the said individuals but how dissuasive an impact the arrest would have on the ivory trade in general. It is an open secret here that most times it is the small individual paddlers who are arrested and presented to the public with fanfare.
At the same time, the big transborder/transnational movers and shakers in the ivory trade go scot-free. The problem of poaching can only be tackled through the arrest and imprisonment of the big international traders who deal in thousands of tusks, instead of the local hunters who trade in single tusks”, declared an environmental activist in Libreville.