Members of a militia run by fugitive African warlord Joseph Kony are killing elephants across Central Africa and using the money to support his group, a watchdog has reported.
Kony's Lord's Resistance Army is struggling and has turned to elephant poaching '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 who want to enough defections from the LRA said Kony gave the order to butcher elephants for their ivory as far back as 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.'
It added information from former captives showed LRA groups in Central African Republic and Congo 'trade ivory with unidentified people who arrive in helicopters'.
In February Ugandan troops operating in Central African Republic discovered six elephant tusks believed to have been hidden in the bush by the LRA.
Ugandan army officials said at the time that they were acting on information given by an LRA defector who said Kony long ago instructed his fighters to find ivory and bring it to him. More....