To answer to charges brought against them following their arrest last month with ivory and pangolin scales in Douala. The four were arrested with an estimated two tons of pangolin scales and about 200kg of elephant ivory, during a crackdown operation carried out by a team comprising
Members of a trafficking gang shall appear wildlife and police officers.
Reports after their arrest say they trafficked in wildfire products especially ivory and pangolin scales, transporting the contraband to Nigeria. They had front businesses to cover up the trafficking in wildlife products. One of them used a telephone shop from where he operated while the another dealt in pepper and a local ingredient that goes by the name “djansang”. Ivory and pangolin scales were hidden inside the pepper and djansang bags when transported.
The reports equally claimed they activated a huge network of smaller traffickers in towns across the East, Centre and South regions including Batouri, Messanmena, Ngoyla, Abong Mbang Yoko and Ayos. The illegal products were stored at the premises of one of the traffickers in Douala and exported to Nigeria. Following their arrest, a house search that was carried out at the premises found bits and pieces of pangolin scales littering several rooms.
Speaking after the arrest, Francis Durand Nna, the Littoral Regional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife said: “This is a great victory for us, to have apprehended individuals who illegally exploit wildlife products.” The operation that led to the arrest of the traffickers was technically assisted by LAGA, an NGO that has been assisting the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife to enable them track and arrest traffickers since 2003.
If found guilty they face up to 3 years imprisonment and or fine of up to 10 million CFA F as pangolins are listed in the class of totally protected wildlife species. Cameroon is host to three species of pangolin including the black-bellied, the white-bellied and the giant pangolins. Scales from all three species of pangolins were found in the seized haul.