By Sheree Bega, Kashiefa Ajam
The illicit ivory trade may have partly funded militant Islamic group al-Shabaab’s terror attack in Kenya this week, according to an international conservation group.
The Elephant Action League (EAL), which has investigated the terror group’s links to elephant and rhino poaching in Africa, said the group derived up to 40 percent of its funding from the illegal trade.
“You can easily say that the terrorist activity in Kenya last weekend was funded by many sources, one of them ivory,” Andrea Costra, EAL executive director, told the Saturday Star.
“We need to become a bit more confrontational with China, which is the origin of problem, because they are buying most of the ivory.
“The question for the Chinese buyer is when they go to a shop in Beijing full of ivory, that it is used to fund the terrorist attack in Nairobi that killed pregnant women and children, that you as an ivory consumer are funding the operations of al-Shabaab. You are an accessory to manslaughter and the criminal courts should try you as well.
“If you buy ivory or rhino horn, you kill people. It’s very sad that you need a terrorist attack like this where dozens of people are killed to start talking about this…”
In Africa’s White Gold of Jihad: Al-Shabaab and Conflict Ivory, co-author Costra writes how al-Shabaab earned up to R6 million monthly through illegal ivory sales. More....