Congo elephant poacher gets 30 years forced labour
A young female elephant lies on the ground, sedated, to be fitted with a geographical positioning system (GPS) collar at the Garamba National Park, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on February 7, 2016. Chronic insecurity, regional conflict, tough terrain and isolation make Africa's Garamba park perhaps the most difficult place on the continent to practice conservation. 114 elephants were killed last year. (TONY KARUMBA / AFP)
(AFP) - A poacher in Congo-Brazzaville has been sentenced to 30 years of forced labour for killing elephants, an NGO said Tuesday.
Gerard Mombaza Mombembo, 35, from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, has been nicknamed "the butcher of Nouabale Ndoki", after the national park where he primarily operated.
He was found guilty of killing protected animals and hunting with military-grade weapons, as well as criminal association and attempted murder, by a court in Ouesso, capital of the heavily forested Sangha region.
"This detention is a major first in the battle against poaching and illegal smuggling of wildlife products. This creates opportunities to criminalise acts of poaching, and punish poachers even more severely," said Richard Malonga, head of WCS Congo, an NGO working with the Nouabale Ndoki park.
The park, created in 1993, is part of the Sangha Trinational that stretches across the borders with Central African Republic and Cameroon. It was given UNESCO World Heritage status in 2012.
© Agence France-Presse