Illegal ivory trade 'funding Lord's Resistance Army rebels'

 

The Lord's Resistance Army has resorted to elephant poaching in order to fund its activities, according to human rights organisations.

Human rights activists and conservationists warn that "poaching and its potential linkages to other criminal, even terrorist, activities constitute a grave menace to sustainable peace and security in Central Africa."

The LRA leader, Joseph Kony, tops the wanted list of the International Criminal Court. Together with three other leaders, Okot Odhiambo, Dominic Ongwen, and Vincent Otti, Kony has been indicted for crimes against humanity. Atrocities in Northern Uganda including murders, mutilations, rape, abductions, lootings and displacement of communities have all been attributed to the LRA.

Kony, originally based in South Sudan from where his militants terrorised Northern Uganda, has not attacked Uganda since 2006. However, the group reportedly continues to attack and displace people in the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo.

These places are also bases for their illegal trade and, human rights activists say, they are threatening the existence of elephants in Africa. The UN estimates that the elephant population in DRC and CRA could have already declined by 90 per cent.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon warned: "Wildlife crime has become a serious threat to the security, political stability, economy, natural resources and cultural heritage of many countries.

"The extent of the response required to effectively address this threat are often beyond the sole remit of environmental or wildlife law enforcement agencies, or of one country or region alone."

The LRA joins other rebel groups like Janjaweed in Cameroon and CRA, who have for long relied on illegal ivory trade to fund their operations.

"The spread of cross-border poaching in Central Africa and its links to sophisticated armed groups is alarming. We have seen the devastating impact of this crime in too many countries," said Jim Leape, International Director General of international conservation group WWF.

The report, Kony's Ivory: How Elephant Poaching in Congo Helps Support the Lord's Resistance Army, was authored by Invisible Children, an American charity organisation dedicated  to exposing the atrocities of the LRA. 

One of Invisible Children's most popular videos Kony 2012, while controversial, enlightened a mostly oblivious world about the extent of LRA atrocities. Critics however say the film simplified the LRA war and ignored the atrocities equally perpetuated by the Ugandan army. Following Kony 2012, the U.S sent troops to reinforce the UPDF's efforts in fighting the LRA.

In this latest report, Invisible Children, together with co-authors Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project, say that the resources gained from the illegal trade of ivory undercut the efforts of the African Union Regional Task Force soldiers to combat the LRA and undermine the mission of US military advisers to assist their work.

The biggest market for ivory is china. The country is under pressure from international community that wants it to stop the trade in ivory to help conservation and, now, security efforts.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
David Silva strokes home his and City's second goal
football
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas