By Moki Edwin Kindzeka
International and Cameroonian wildlife organizations blame rebel groups for the slaughter of almost 12,000 elephants in Central African countries since 2004. They say the rebels are working with corrupt government officials to sell the Ivory to Asia to finance their insurgencies.
The World Conservation Society, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, and the International Union for Nature Conservation [sic\ are among the groups joining Cameroonian non-governmental organizations this week to accuse rebels groups in Central Africa of fueling the illegal ivory trade.
At a news conference late Thursday in Yaounde, they said 11,000 elephants were killed in Minkebe Park, in northeast Gabon since 2004. Last year, 300 elephants were killed in Cameroon and in March this year, 86 elephants - including 33 pregnant females - were killed in Chad.
Despite measures to protect the elephants - experts said their populations have fallen by more than 60 percent in the region in the past decade.
Jules Caron, head of communications for the WWF’s anti-poaching unit in Central Africa, said it no secret that rebel groups are using the illegal trade to fund their activities. “There is a group like the Lord’s Resistance Army that has been proving links between [setting an example of\ how to fund their activities through illegal wildlife trade and ivory poaching. There is elephant poaching done by them in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they use ivory to sell in return for arms," Caron stated. "It is the same with the Sudanese Janjaweed where there is links in the north of Cameroon and the Central African Republic with those hunters [poachers\ that have links with the Janjaweeds.” More....