This week, Invisible Children, The Enough Project, and The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative jointly released a new report highlighting evidence that the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has been poaching elephants in the Democratic Republic of Congo, under Joseph Kony’s orders, and trafficking ivory as one means to sustain itself and resupply.
The multimedia report, entitled Kony’s Ivory: How Elephant Poaching in Congo Helps Support the Lord’s Resistance Army, features satellite imagery, as well as testimonies from LRA defectors and central African park rangers, proving that as early as 2010, Kony fighters have been killing elephants in Garamba National Park and transporting ivory to areas of Central African Republic, where it is then traded for food, ammunition, and arms.
While it is still unclear with whom the LRA is trading ivory, researchers from The Enough Project collected testimonies from some LRA defectors who said that on certain occasions “white helicopters” would land in designated locations to meet with the LRA, and exchange elephant ivory for various supplies – including weapons.
The report offers several policy recommendations to both regional and international actors to address the poaching issue, including one recommendation that the U.S. advisors in central Africa expand their current defection programs – which have been successful in encouraging LRA members to surrender – to cover more areas of Garamba National Park where LRA fighters are know to be active.
Below is a video from the Enough Project featuring highlights from the report. You can also read the full report here.