The Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, is now using elephant poaching as a means to sustain itself. LRA leader Joseph Kony—wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity—has ordered his fighters to bring him elephant tusks.
Eyewitnesses report that the LRA trades tusks for much-needed resources such as food, weapons and ammunition, and other supplies.
In a visit to Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC, in January 2013, the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project documented evidence of LRA poaching operations through interviews with park rangers, LRA escapees, and recent senior defectors. This report demonstrates how killing elephants in Congo is helping to support the LRA’s continuing atrocities across central Africa. It links the group’s activities in Garamba to the growing regional and global ivory trade, which is threatening the survival of African elephants.
With prices at record-high levels, trading illegal ivory offers the LRA another way to sustain itself in addition to its habitual pillaging.
Former senior fighters who defected from the group report that the LRA trades ivory for arms, ammunition, and food. Former captives said that they saw LRA groups in the DRC and the Central African Republic, or CAR, trade ivory with unidentified people who arrive in helicopters.
For more on this story, visit: Kony’s Ivory: How Elephant Poaching in Congo Helps Support the Lord’s Resistance Army | Enough.