Guinea Ape Trafficker Arrested, Sent to Prison
A fugitive great ape trafficker — who admitted he illegally sold more than 500 chimpanzees since 1994 – was apprehended on August 25 after a six-month manhunt and will now begin serving the harshest penalty ever for wildlife crime in Guinea, confirming the severity of the illegal trade in great apes throughout West Africa.
Ousmane Diallo was sentenced to one year in prison and fined $6,600 USD, and two accomplices were sentenced to six months imprisonment and fined $2,000 USD apiece.
A recent Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) report, Stolen Apes: The Illicit Trade in Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Bonobos and Orangutans , calculates that as many as 10 chimpanzees are killed for every living chimpanzee that is illegally traded. As a result, Diallo’s traffic could have been associated with the death of as many as 5,000 wild chimpanzees.
Diallo was arrested in the early morning hours in Conakry in a joint operation between Interpol’s national bureau, and the conservation organization, GALF (Guinée Application de la Loi Faunique).
Judge Magadouba Sow – who delivered the original sentence against Diallo and his accomplices – issued an order at 7 a.m. that called for the immediate transfer of Diallo to the central prison.
“Through this historical decision, Justice has sent a message against impunity,” said GALF director Charlotte Houpline. “It is a real step forward for wildlife crime in Guinea.”
Ten hidden camera interviews with Diallo revealed that he regularly trafficked chimpanzees in large numbers, sometimes using Spanish cargo ships as couriers. He also admitted to selling hyenas, panthers, lions, and birds, and over 150 exotic birds of 10 different species – including endangered African Grey parrots — were confiscated from his compound.
A recent Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) report, Stolen Apes, calculates that as many as 10 chimpanzees are killed for every living chimpanzee that is illegally traded. As a result, Diallo’s traffic could have been responsible for the death of as many as 5,000 wild chimpanzees, roughly equivalent to the entire estimated wild population of Guinea.
A recent CITES mission to Guinea uncovered a massive and systematic trade in chimpanzees from Guinea to Asia using falsified CITES permits.
“Sure, I sold more than 500 chimpanzees from 1994,” Diallo said during the hidden camera interviews. “Sometimes, I can sell 10 or 15 chimpanzees. We have clients for this. The ship, Las Palmas, in Spain — every time they come to Guinea for fishing they raise chimpanzees with parrots. They buy in big quantities now.”
Added Diallo: “I am not yet a multi-millionaire, but I am a millionaire. From 1986 until 1990 until 2000, in God’s name, I can tell you that in Conakry you couldn’t find anyone as rich as me.”
GALF is a member of the Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA) network, a GRASP partner that coordinates illegal trade investigations and law enforcement activities across West and Central Africa. For more information, visit www.wara-enforcement.org.