The head of a United Nations-backed treaty for the conservation of endangered species has welcomed a call from the Security Council for an investigation into the alleged involvement of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the poaching of African elephants and smuggling of their ivory. “The historic call made by the UN Security Council reinforces concerns about the links between illicit wildlife trafficking and regional security in Africa,” said the Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), John E. Scanlon.
“The CITES Secretariat is ready to work with its partners to support efforts to investigate the involvement of rebel militias in wildlife crime,” he added. CITES is the only global convention addressing international trade in wildlife.
In a presidential statement issued last week, the Security Council called “on the United Nations and African Union to jointly investigate the Lord’s Resistance Army logistical networks and possible sources of illicit financing, including alleged involvement in elephant poaching and related illicit smuggling.”
The LRA was formed in the 1980s in Uganda and for over 15 years its attacks were mainly directed against Ugandan civilians and security forces, which in 2002 dislodged the rebels. Since then, they exported their activities to Uganda’s neighbours, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic and South Sudan.
The armed group is notorious for carrying out massacres in villages, mutilating its victims and abducting boys for use as child soldiers, while girls are often forced into sexual slavery. More....