News / Africa

Rebels Try to Rein in Poachers in CAR

TEXT SIZE - +
Gabe Joselow
— Sudanese poachers, taking advantage of the instability in the Central African Republic, have been hunting elephants in a protected area in the southwest of the country.  Rebel leaders in the capital have sent a message to the poachers demanding that they stop.
 
The World Wildlife Fund says 17 poachers entered Dzanga-Ndoki National Park on Monday, and have been heard firing shots from within the forest since then.
 
A resident in the nearby town of Bayanga confirmed the presence of poachers to VOA.
 
No elephants have been confirmed killed, but staff in the park have heard shots being fired from a clearing where forest elephants regularly gather, up to 200 at a time.
 
WWF says the poachers are linked to a splinter group of the Seleka rebel alliance that seized control of the capital Bangui in March.
 
The head of policy for WWF in the region, Bas Huijbregts, says on Wednesday rebel leadership in the capital sent a message to the poachers telling them to stop.
 
“Seleka sent apparently, via motorbike, a letter to their colleagues, the Sudanese guys, asking them to get out of the forest as soon as possible," said Huijbregts.
 
Huijbregts says the message was sent through another group of Seleka members who were escorting a delegation of Chinese diamond prospectors in the area.
 
Seleka has had trouble reining in its fighters, who are blamed for looting and assaults in the capital since the takeover.  WWF says rebel elements in Bayanga have raided their offices several times in the past two months.
 
But now the conservationists are hoping that a joint force made of Seleka rebels and agents from the ministry for wildlife will help to restore security around the park.
 
Huijbregts says Seleka must be on board with the operation as the dominant military force in the country.

“It has been judged safest to have a mission that is accompanied by Seleka, given the fact that they need to pass through several Seleka operated roadblocks going to Bayanga," he said.
 
Sudanese poachers have been responsible for the slaughter of elephants for their tusks in CAR and neighboring Cameroon in the past.
 
Conservationists say African elephants are increasingly under threat from poachers due in large part to rising demand for ivory in Asia.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid