With the aid of ten hidden camera’s, a handful of “spies” and the collaboration of Guinean police, a court in Conakry Tuesday July 30th 2013 finally slammed a one year prison term on one of the most notorious animal traffickers in Guinea Conakry.
Ousmane Diallo was uncovered following undercover investigations carried out by GALF- the Guinea Conakry branch of WARA Conservation, a French wildlife protection organization. The operations coordinated by WARA’s wildlife campaigner Charlotte Houpline with the help of Naftali Honig also led to the arrests of two other traffickers both of whom also received six months imprisonment terms.
During the investigations, Mr Diallo revealed on tape to GALF operatives that he had personally poached and sold more than 500 chimps since 1994 when he began committing his wildlife crimes. He also boasted to have trafficked hyenas, leopards, a baby lion and thousands of protected birds. He revealed his main market was in China. This will make Mr Diallo one of the most prolific traffickers across the African continent and his conviction is a big blow to wildlife criminals in the small west African state.
Guinean Ministry of Environment, Interpol and a handful of GALF team members took part in the operations that finally netted Mr Diallo.
“This sentence will not solve the problem of the trafficking in protected species in Guinea…we need to have a lot of traffickers behind bars to deter others from continuing the trade” Ms Houpline told Iroko Africa in an exclusive interview
GALF operations in Guinea are modelled on similar operations developed and perfected by The Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA) created by former Israeli activist Ofir Drori and based in Cameroon. It involves sending out locally trained “spies” or agents who pose as buyers and lure the traffickers into revealing their modus operandi and where they sell the trafficked animals and their body parts. The argents secretly record their operations which are finally used as evidence in court to convict them.
LAGA was the first such organization created in Africa. Similar models are now operating in Central African Republic, Gabon, Congo Dr and Guinea and a couple of other African countries.
Read our exclusive interview with French wildlife campaigner Charlotte Houpline tomorrow Tuesday August 6th 2013.