Illegal logging and trafficking of teakwood in the forest of Bayottes, Senegal

Logging of the precious teakwood is forbidden but yet happens without the effective measures being taken on the ground to stop its trafficking and smuggling to bordering countries, accelerating the deforestation of Casamance.


En français ci-dessous ----------------- The illegal logging of teak wood from the classified and sacred Forest of Bayottes was put under the spotlight following the massacre from January 6th, 2018. Twenty lumberjacks were ambushed and shot in a remote corner of the forest. The massacre cost the lives of fourteen (14) lumberjacks. The teak wood comes from the tropical tree of the same name. It is a precious wood used for the manufacture of garden furniture and boat decks. There was confusion in the media and that is why some articles mention the classified forest of Bourofaye, but it is well in the forest of the Bayottes that the massacre took place, located in the commune of Nyassia, about twenty kilometers southwest of Ziguinchor, the capital of Casamance. Several villages are located in the forest of Bayottes, including Boffa Bayotte, Bouhouyoum, Toubacouta, Katoure, Badem, Baguame. These villages being witnesses of the disappearance of the oldest trees of the forest were made aware of deforestation issues through the forums organized by the most concerned villagers and with the help of Caritas. Thus the villagers organized themselves and created vigilance committees to protect what remains of the forest from the woodcutters who are still coming from Ziguinchor, other parts of Senegal or neighboring countries and continue their activities with impunity. The altercations between wood cutters and villagers have been happening several times. At the end of October 2017, members of the inter-villages monitoring committee found a recidivist wood cutter, which they presented to the authorities. Yet the latter did not take any further action. It was the wood cutter who lodged a complaint against the villagers and it was the members of the committee who were sentenced by the court. Imprisoned for more than a month, they were finally released at the end of December 2017. Since then the tension has remained strong among wood cutters and villagers, under the virtual inertia of the local authorities, particularly the governor and the Water and Forest Service. The authorities and some media initially blamed the January 2018 killings on the southern faction of the Mouvement des forces démocratiques de Casamance (MFDC), the rebel group that fought for Casamance’s independence for decades. Some sources have suspected the head of the MFDC's southern front given his frustration with peace talks with Senegalese political authorities. Yet the situation seems more complicated than that. The traffic of teak timber from the forest of Bayottes supplies both Ziguinchor sawmills and international trade. According to the separatists, who have also expressed themselves in the media, the investigations of the Senegalese authorities should focus on the clandestine networks of teak wood which enjoy the direct complicity of the police and local and regional authorities. For them, the massacre is the result of rival gangs of wood cutters linked to sawmills. Following these events, the army legitimized the reinforcement of its presence in the classified forest with the announced aims of neutralizing the rebels and fighting the trafficking of wood and Indian hemp. The army sent 150 paratroopers on site to search the area and in collaboration with the gendarmerie. A few days later, twenty young people from the village of Toubacouta, including four villagers who had been imprisoned at the end of 2017, were arrested but quickly released for lack of evidence for prosecution. 

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Basic Data
NameIllegal logging and trafficking of teakwood in the forest of Bayottes, Senegal
ProvinceZiguinchor - Casamance
SiteForêt classée des Bayotte - commune de Nyassia
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Deforestation
Specific Commoditiesle bois teck
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsEn Français ci-dessous -------------- The illegal cutting of precious woods would have already cost 10,000 hectares to the forests of Casamance [1]. It is in several Gambian villages on the border with Senegal, notably in the village of Sare Bodjo, that Senegalese wood is exported to China as Gambian timber. According to the environmental activist Haidar El Ali, Senegal has reportedly lost more than a million trees since 2010, allowing farmers based in the Gambia to pocket more than 140 billion FCFA [2]. Even though The Gambia has almost no forests, it supplies 30% of Chinese imports from Africa, a market worth more than 200 million euros [3]. The resources in northern Casamance, bordering with The Gambia, are already depleted, which is why traffickers recently moved to the south of Casamance, on the border with Guinea-Bissau, the area affected by the massacre in the forest of Bayottes of January 2018. The illegal cutting of precious wood also feeds the sawmills of Ziguinchor and the illegal sawmills scattered in the forests of Casamance. Teak wood has been considered as an endangered species in the Casamance forests for several years [4]. However, measures and means are lacking to fight the illegal logging of this species and other tree species such as the wood of veneer. Following the events of January 2018, President Macky Sall ordered the suspension of all existing logging permits in Casamance.

-------------- En Français ------------La coupe illégale de bois précieux aurait déjà couté 10.000 hectares aux forêts casamançaises [1]. C’est dans plusieurs villages gambiens à la frontière avec le Sénégal, notamment dans le village de Sare Bodjo que transite le bois sénégalais qui est exporté vers la Chine en tant que bois gambien grâce aux papiers fournis par les autorités gambiennes. D’après le militant écologiste M. Haidar El Ali le Sénégal aurait perdu plus d’un million d’arbres depuis 2010, permettant aux exploitants basés en Gambie d’empocher plus de 140 milliards de francs FCA [2]. Même si la Gambie n’a presque plus de forêts, elle fournit 30% des importations chinoises en provenance d’Afrique, marché de plus de 200 millions d’euros [3]. Les ressources dans le nord de la Casamance, la région frontalière avec la Gambie, seraient déjà épuisées et c’est pourquoi les trafiquants se sont récemment déplacés vers le sud de la Casamance, à la frontière avec la Guinée-Bissau, zone concernée par le massacre dans la forêt des Bayottes de janvier 2018. La coupe illégale de bois précieux alimente aussi les scieries de Ziguinchor ou des scieries illégales dans les forêts casamançaises. Cela fait déjà plusieurs années que le bois teck est considéré comme étant une espèce en voie de disparition dans les forêts casamançaises [4]. Pourtant les mesures et les moyens manquent pour lutter contre l’abattage illégale de cette espèce et d’autres espèces d’arbres tels que le bois de vène. Suite aux événements de janvier 2018, le Président Macky Sall ordonna la suspension de toutes les autorisations en vigueur de coupe de bois en Casamance.
Type of PopulationRural
Relevant government actorsL'armée, la gendarmerie, le service des Eaux et Forêts, ministère de l'Environnement et du Développement Durable
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCaritas Ziguinchor
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
rebel groups (supporting villagers)
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
self-awarness campaign against logging, creation of village committees against logging
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Fires
Health ImpactsVisible: Deaths
Potential: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Displacement
OtherAttack from January 2018 legitimated increased military presence
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Strengthening of participation
strikes by the Senegalese army in the area
Development of AlternativesStop deforestation and wood smuggling.

--- Arrêt de la déforestation et du trafic du bois qui se fait au détriment du Sénégal et qui bénéficie en majorité aux pays limitrophes de la Casamance.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Even though the central government showed its willingness to fight against the illegal logging and smuggling of the Senegalese timber after the massacre in January 2018, it remains unconvincing that the necessary means have been put in place on the ground to face these organized networks that have enjoyed the complicity of local authorities for several years now.

--------------- En français. ------------------Meme si le gouvernement central a affiché une certaine volonté à lutter contre la coupe illégale et le trafic du bois sénégalais suite au massacre de janvier 2018, il reste peu convaincant que les moyens nécessaires aient été mis en place pour faire face à ces réseaux organisés et qui jouissent de la complicité des autorités locales depuis plusieurs années déjà.
Sources and Materials

Casamance : la rébellion condamne l’assassinat de 13 coupeurs de bois, Le Monde, 7 Janvier 2018
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Massacre dans la forêt classée de Bayotte : confusion géographique sur la localité du drame, 10 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

Forêt Classée des Bayottes, MapCarta
[click to view]

Sénégal: 13 civils tués dans le sud de la Casamance, Rfi Afrique, 6 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

Massacre en Casamance : que s’est-il passé dans la forêt de Bourofaye ? Le Monde Afrique, 9 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

Sénégal: Tuerie dans la forêt de Bayotte - 22 personnes interpellées, All Africa, 15 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

Tuerie de la forêt de Bayotte : Oumar Ampoï Bodian interpellé à Ziguinchor, 22 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

Nyassia : un militaire tué et un autre blessé suite à des opérations de ratissage et de sécurisation, Mars 2018
[click to view]

13 jeunes tués en Casamance : sous le choc, le Sénégal s'interroge sur les assaillants, Ibrahima Bayo, 7 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

Sénégal : tolérance zéro contre le trafic de bois, La Tribune Afrique, 12 Novembre 2016
[click to view]

Casamance: Dossier sur le trafic du bois de Tek dans la région de Ziguinchor, Pierre Coly, 3 Décembre 2017
[click to view]

Ce que l'on sait du massacre en Casamance, Vooafrique, 7 mai 2018
[click to view]

Réaction de la Plateforme des Femmes pour la Paix en Casamance sur la tuerie dans forêt de Bayotte, Sud Quotidien, 8 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

Sénégal: L'armée attaque et perd un soldat en Casamance, 5 mars 2018
[click to view]

[4]Le ''teck'', un arbre au bois de qualité, est en voie de disparition en Casamance, SenePlus, 5 Aout 2013
[click to view]

Recrudescence de la violence armée en Casamance : Quand le bois nourrit le grand conflit trentenaire, 9 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

Trafic de bois: le Sénégal exerce un droit de poursuite en Gambie, 11 mai 2018
[click to view]

[2]Sénégal - Casamance : le motif politique s'éloigne mais..., Le Point Afrique, 8 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

Tuerie dans la foret Bofa-Bayotte: La Cddc accable les parrains du trafic du bois, Le Quotidien, 18 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

Tuerie de Bofa Bayotte: Les intellectuels et universitaires de la Casamance chargent l’Etat, 21 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

Après la tuerie de Boffa Bayotte, 20 jeunes de Toubacouta interpelés, 16 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

Tuerie de Boffa Bayotte: La gendarmerie brise le silence et confirme l’enquête de Kewoulo, 14 janvier 2018
[click to view]

Massacre en Casamance : 22 suspects arrêtés, une piste sur les auteurs ?, La Tribune, 15 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

Les menuisiers dans le désarroi, Sud Online, 22 Février 2018
[click to view]

Sénégal : haro sur le trafic de bois en Casamance, Le Point Afrique, 20 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

Suspension des autorisations de coupe de bois : Greenpeace se réjouit, 19 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

[5] Code Forestier Suspension Coupe Bois Casamance Suspension coupe de bois : Seule la région naturelle de la Casamance est concernée, 19 janvier 2018
[click to view]

Media Links

Un drone filme le pillage par la Chine des dernières forêts du Sénégal, Video Youtube, Mai 2016
[click to view]

Frappe Armée Sénégalaise a la Frontière Bissau Guinéenne - Paulo Silva Témoigne - 27 Janvier 2018
[click to view]

Video trafic de bois en casamance par les chinois basés en gambie HD, 27 mai 2016
[click to view]

Trafic de bois au Sénégal : la Casamance menacée de déforestation, 16 Juin 2016
[click to view]

[3] Sénégal : trafic de Bois précieux avec la Chine via la Gambie, TV5 Monde, 4 juillet 2016
[click to view]

[1] Trafic de bois en casamance: Aly Haidar à l'assaut de ces "lobby puissants qui pillent la forêt", 26 mai 2016
[click to view]

Other Documents

Coupeur de bois avec tronçonneuse dans la foret des Bayottes Copyright. Le Point Afrique /
[click to view]

Arbres teck en Casamance Source.
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorEnvJustice Team
Last update16/05/2018