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3 Face Trial For Killing Gorillas 

By Fidelis Pegue Manga — Three suspects are currently detained in a prison in Abong Mbang in the East Region for killing three gorillas, a totally protected species in Cameroon. Forest rangers working for Nki National Park in the East Region arrested the suspects on June 19 in the village of Ntam in Ngoyla Subdivision on Cameroon’s border with Congo Brazzaville.
The trio was caught with smoked gorilla parts and other wildlife species. 

Rangers ferried the suspects to Abong Mbang, chief town of Haut Nyong Division where they are expected to face trial. A fourth suspected, wanted by judicial authorities, is still at large.
Gorilla is Class A protected species, which means they are forbidden from being hunted or captured.

Suspects tried and found guilty could face up to three years imprisonment and or a fine ranging between FCFA 3 to 10 million. The arrest of the three suspects came on the wake of sustained anti-poaching operations initiated by the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife with the support of WWF. “These arrests were made after investigations we carried out in the village of Ntam,” stated Desire Mpae, a forest ranger who led the operation.

According to Gilles Etoga, WWF Jengi TRIDOM Program Manager, the poaching of gorilla is closely connected with the trafficking of human bones, becoming common in this part of Cameroon. “It is difficult to distinguish between the smoked hand of a gorilla and that of a human being,” stated Gilles.

Meanwhile, the Conservator for Nki National Park, Pascal Dongmo, later pursued and seized more than 100 bullets and a motorbike from suspected poachers. Dongmo believes the bullets were meant for poachers operating south west of Nki National Park. “We shall make sure the suspects are brought to book if we want to reduce the rate of poaching in this area,” he said.

An estimated 2,500 gorillas are said to be in Nki National and 2,000 more in the Ngoyla-Mintom Forest Block adjoining the Park. But recent upsurge in poaching has put this iconic species that share some 98 of human gene and characteristics, under serious menace. Results of recent ant-poaching operations in southeast Cameroon show poachers are increasingly targeting gorillas.

First published in The Post print edition no 01447

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