A Vietnamese man (rear left) and his two Togolese accomplices (rear centre) are paraded to the media in the city of Lome. Police in Togo say they arrested the three men after discovering nearly two tons of ivory in a container marked for shipping to Vietnam. Picture: Erick Kaglan

Lome - Police in the West African country of Togo have found more than two tons of ivory loaded in a container in the port of Lome, the government said on Thursday.

The new haul brings the amount of ivory seized at the port to nearly four tons in a week.

Last August, 700kg of ivory was found in a shop in the capital.

International trade in ivory was banned in 1989 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or CITES.

Togo's minister of environment and forest resources, Andre Johnson, told reporters that 2.1 tons of ivory was found in two containers on Wednesday.

The containers were part of the same shipment where nearly 1.7 tons of ivory was found last Thursday, he added.

“The owner of the container is Vietnamese. He has been arrested with two Togolese nationals. Investigations are still ongoing to dismantle this ivory trafficking network,” said Johnson.

Despite the world ban, ivory trafficking has increased in recent years because of high demand, particularly in Asia, where elephant tusks are used for decorative objects and in traditional medicine.