One hundred and eighteen elephant tusks were seized in Ambam, in southern Cameroon, a hotspot for ivory trafficking near the border with Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, Jean-Claude Ekoube, head of communication for Cameroonian customs, has said.
With nearly 675 kilos recovered, “this seizure is the largest in Cameroon in terms of quantity for five years,” he said.
The ivory, coming from Gabon, was transported in a double-bottom van, also carrying wood, according to a report on Cameroonian state television. IT was then to head to Asia, according to Cameroonian customs.
“You know that we are in a border area and that cross-border crime is generally very high in this area. So we have with the hierarchy, as I said, set up this special mission to lead, search, track down the contraband where it is. And this is the result as you have seen, it is ivory points. “
“Four traffickers, three Cameroonians and one Gabonese were arrested with this cargo,” said Ekoube.
Gabon, a small country in Central Africa, is home to nearly 60% of the forest elephants that survive in Africa. The illegal ivory trade is the third most profitable form of trafficking after drugs and weapons.
The traffic is fuelled by strong demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks are used in traditional medicine and ornamentation, despite a moratorium on its international trade decided in 1989. Ivory can be resold ‘at 7,000 euros per kilo.