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Report: Joseph Kony's struggling militia killing elephants for cash

By Faith Karimi, CNN
June 5, 2013 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
African warlord Joseph Kony is shown in a 2006 photo.
African warlord Joseph Kony is shown in a 2006 photo.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Report: The militia gets funds for weapons, ammunition and food
  • Africa's elephants face higher risks as demand for ivory grows in Asia
  • Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes

(CNN) -- African warlord Joseph Kony and his struggling militia are poaching elephant ivory across central Africa to get funds for weapons, ammunition and food, a report says.

Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes. He is accused of recruiting underage boys as fighters and girls as sex slaves, and is the subject of a massive manhunt aided by U.S special forces.

His militia, the Lord's Resistance Army, has been butchering elephants for years, according to a report released Tuesday by various groups, including the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project.

"Greater investments are needed to combat the LRA across central Africa," said co-author Kasper Agger, an Enough Project field researcher.

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"Governments in Asia and elsewhere who fail to regulate the illegal ivory trade share responsibility for atrocities committed by the LRA and other armed groups engaged in poaching."

The report includes accounts by former captives, who say that the militia trades ivory with customers who land in the vast forest in helicopters.

U.S. offers $5 million for information leading to Kony

Africa's elephants are facing higher risks as demand for ivory grows in Asia.

Over the last decade, conservationists say poachers have reduced Africa's forest elephant population by 62%, threatening the magnificent mammals with eventual extinction.

Unlike decades past when poachers across the continent ran down elephants using spears, attackers are now highly organized and armed with sophisticated weapons.

In northern Cameroon, heavily armed poachers are known to swoop in on horseback in the vast forests.

The vast Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the areas mostly targeted by the militia, the report said.

Kony and his militia are wanted men.

The United States is offering $5 million for information leading to the arrest, transfer or conviction of three top leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army, including Kony.

A small number of U.S. special forces are advising and assisting regional military efforts to hunt him down.

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