Another case of ivory smuggling involving the member of MINUSCA

The UN mission in the Central African Republic has long had a tarnished  reputation.MINUSCAPeacekeepershave been convicted on severaloccasionsof crimessuchas collaborationwith armed groups, rape, the illegal export of natural resources and even the murder of civilians.The smuggling of ivorybyMINUSCApersonnelhas recentlybeen addedto this list of crimes.

On June 5,2024, Rith Kanara, a member of the Indonesian contingent of MINUSCA born in Cambodia, was arrested at Bangui M’poko airport while trying to smuggle ivory from the Central African Republic.The authoritiesfoundhigh-qualityivoryproductsinhisluggagethatwerenot declaredandforwhich there were no necessary documents for transportation.An investigationhas been launchedintothisscandal, butapolicesourcesaidthat MINUSCAhad alreadywithdrawnCanarafrom the police. Itis therefore likelythat hewill not be prosecuted for this crime.

This is not the first case of ivory smuggling involving a MINUSCA employee. On June 3, 2024, Caleb John, a citizen of the Central African Republic, was surprised and arrested at Bangui M’Poko airport when he wanted to smuggle ivory out of the Central African Republic. Caleb John had no documents concerning the suitcases filled with ivory. The latter was arrested by the Central African police and, after being questioned, confessed that he wanted to bring out the ivory for his friend Rafio from MINUSCA in mainland Indonesia, whom he met while working as a translator at MINUSCA from 2018 to 2020.

Ivory smuggling is an illegal activity that threatens the survival of endangered species. It is therefore crucial that measures are taken to prevent such violations by MINUSCA personnel. The Central African authorities must put an end to the plundering of the country’s natural resources!