Skip to main content

Report: Joseph Kony's struggling militia killing elephants for cash

By Faith Karimi, CNN
updated 10:26 AM EDT, Wed June 5, 2013
African warlord Joseph Kony is shown in a 2006 photo.
African warlord Joseph Kony is shown in a 2006 photo.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Report: The militia gets funds for weapons, ammunition and food
  • Africa's elephants face higher risks as demand for ivory grows in Asia
  • Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes

(CNN) -- African warlord Joseph Kony and his struggling militia are poaching elephant ivory across central Africa to get funds for weapons, ammunition and food, a report says.

Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes. He is accused of recruiting underage boys as fighters and girls as sex slaves, and is the subject of a massive manhunt aided by U.S special forces.

His militia, the Lord's Resistance Army, has been butchering elephants for years, according to a report released Tuesday by various groups, including the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project.

"Greater investments are needed to combat the LRA across central Africa," said co-author Kasper Agger, an Enough Project field researcher.

The hunt for Joseph Kony
Kony filmmaker: I went crazy
Elephants slaughtered from the sky

"Governments in Asia and elsewhere who fail to regulate the illegal ivory trade share responsibility for atrocities committed by the LRA and other armed groups engaged in poaching."

The report includes accounts by former captives, who say that the militia trades ivory with customers who land in the vast forest in helicopters.

U.S. offers $5 million for information leading to Kony

Africa's elephants are facing higher risks as demand for ivory grows in Asia.

Over the last decade, conservationists say poachers have reduced Africa's forest elephant population by 62%, threatening the magnificent mammals with eventual extinction.

Unlike decades past when poachers across the continent ran down elephants using spears, attackers are now highly organized and armed with sophisticated weapons.

In northern Cameroon, heavily armed poachers are known to swoop in on horseback in the vast forests.

The vast Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the areas mostly targeted by the militia, the report said.

Kony and his militia are wanted men.

The United States is offering $5 million for information leading to the arrest, transfer or conviction of three top leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army, including Kony.

A small number of U.S. special forces are advising and assisting regional military efforts to hunt him down.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
The reported firing of artillery from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle, says CNN's military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 4:46 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
The young boy stops, stares, throws ammunition casings at the reporter's feet without a word.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
A picture taken on June 28, 2014 shows a member of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) putting on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated. The World Health Organization has warned that Ebola could spread beyond hard-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to neighbouring nations, but insisted that travel bans were not the answer.
The worst ebola outbreak in history spreads out of control in West Africa. CNN's Michael Holmes reports.
updated 8:48 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT