IVORY GREED: Joseph Kony
UGANDAN WARLORD Joseph Kony has been accused of encouraging his followers to kill elephants for their ivory and selling the objects to provide money for the activities of his militia group, a watchdog has reported.
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) led by Kony is struggling financially and is poaching elephants “'as a means to sustain itself”, using money from the illegal trade of ivory to buy food and supplies.
A report issued by a coalition of groups opposed to the LRA said Kony has been ordering his members to steal ivory from elephants from 2010.
“With prices at record-high levels, trading illegal ivory offers the LRA another way to sustain itself in addition to its habitual pillaging,” the report said.
“Former senior fighters who defected from the group report that the LRA trades ivory for arms, ammunition, and food.”
LRA groups in Central African Republic and Congo are said, in the report, to "trade ivory with unidentified people who arrive in helicopters".
African elephants are at growing risk of extinction due to the prevalence of poachers motivated by rising demand for ivory in Asia.
In the 1940s, there were up to 5 million elephants in sub-Saharan Africa, but currently there are less than one million in existence.
The LRA rose to online infamy in 2012 ago after a video about their recruitment of child soldiers went viral.