Security Improves In Central African Republic


Published: January - 2008

Over in Central African Republic, the security situation there is dramatically better than it was last year when an upsurge of conflict with Sudanese poachers culminated in an attack on a safari car that left a French camp manager dead. The incident led to revelations that some CAR outfitters were hiring private anti-poaching personnel, then tolerating their use of lethal force in areas where clients were hunting. The practice appeared so dangerous, you'll recall, that I very nearly announced a Stay Away Warning for the entire country.

Thankfully, such a warning does not seem necessary at all now, with the caveat that I think would-be clients this year still need to grill their intended operators about their personal use of lethal force against poachers or their hiring of personnel to kill poachers. What's changed this year is the introduction of an estimated 25,000 regular army troops into CAR, Chad and the Darfur region of Sudan. These troops, sent there to help resolve the ongoing conflict in Darfur, are sure to cause a drop in the number of Sudanese poachers coming into CAR. Those that do make it to CAR are unlikely to want to draw the kind of attention that would result from injuring of killing a hunter or any of the professionals involved in taking hunters afield.

Another positive development this year is the resumption of EEC funding for anti-poaching efforts in CAR. This means there is no reason for any individual safari company to hire its own anti-poaching teams and create a kind of low-intensity conflict around its safari camps.

All this does not mean CAR is completely safe. The country never has been. What is does mean is that I am personally reassured enough about the security situation there this year to get on a plane and go there for a hunt. Risk tolerance differs among individuals. You may or may not feel that way.

Still in CAR, I am indebted to Club Faune's Jean Pierre Bernon for word that a group in one........(continued)

 
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