CAMEROUN :: Cameroon: Two arrested ; elephant ivory and a gun seized.
Two traffickers have been arrested transporting ivory tusks and a gun along the Campo - Ebolowa road by officials of the South Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife. A woman was also arrested for providing a hunting rifle that was found in their possession alongside the ivory and a military uniform.
The two, aged 41-year-old each, were travelling on board a car with the products loaded in the boot when the car was checked at the Meyo Centre Carrefour by wildlife officials who had prior information of the nature of the products the car was transporting. The operation was carried out with the collaboration of the judicial police in Ebolowa and with the technical assistance of a non governmental organization called LAGA (EAGLE Cameroon).
Wildlife officials and plain clothes policemen had been monitoring the movement of the car that halted at the junction in Meyo. They immediately approached and blocked the car at both ends. Two men were found at the back seats and ordered to step out. After the arrest, Senior Police Superintendent Henrick Walter Elouna who is the Head of the South Regional Judicial Police declared: “I was approached by the South Regional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife, to give a hand to his collaborators and the NGO called LAGA”. When the team arrived the ground they found the car and Elouna declared: “we arrested two poachers who had killed two elephants”.
The car was equally searched and a Carabine 450 rifle was found inside according to Nchenghe Pius Arrey, a wildlife controller who was part of the team. He said: “We
discovered four elephant tusks and a gun inside”. A Carabine 450 rifle was found in a bag that equally contained a saw, a calculator, a military fatigue, a scale and a torch. These are handful equipment for operating in the forests, killing elephants, cutting off the tusks and weighing them. The second bag contained four ivory tusks cut into 7 pieces. The two were taken to the judicial police where preliminary interrogations revealed more information.
One of the two suspects is a poacher who had allegedly just killed three elephants and the second was the trafficker who had the poacher under his employ. According to one source, further questioning would have revealed that the gun was handed to them by the wife of a police superintended who died some 4 years ago. She was also arrested at her residence where two other guns she possessed had earlier been stolen. The military fatigue that was found among the products, it was revealed, was given to them by a colonel.
The products, preliminary investigations indicate, were retrieved early morning on the day of the arrest in Akak some 15 km from Campo by the two who were travelling to Ebolowa to sell the ivory. They had successfully passed two police check points, the Mann and Meban checkpoints and were very close to Ebolowa where it would have been very difficult to sort them out. When police searched the contents of their bags, a crowd started gathering and some eyewitnesses exclaimed it was their fist time of seeing elephant ivory. Two of the four ivory tusks weighed over 33kg, indicating the huge size of the elephant that was recently killed to obtain the tusks.
The South Region is considered by wildlife law enforcement experts as the hotbed for ivory trafficking with localities such as Djoum, Ambam and Ebolowa the epicenters. The Regional Delegation is stepping up collaborative efforts to ensuring enforcement measures are adapted to the intensity of the trafficking.