In an unexpected move late last week, the Ugandan government reinstated a critical tool for combating the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA: amnesty for members of the LRA not indicted by the International Criminal Court, or ICC. Read More »
Enough Project Policy Alerts provide a reaction and set of recommnendations to a significant development designed for policymakers, advocates, and other influential people participating in the policy making process.
In a welcome move on May 29, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice called on the Ugandan/African Union mission against the Lord’s Resistance Army to restart operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Read More »
A new report and video by the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project, co-produced by Invisible Children and The Resolve, confirms that the Lord’s Resistance Army,or LRA, has turned to poaching elephants as a means to fund its atrocities. Read More »
Enough Project and Satellite Sentinel Project Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jonathan Hutson, email@example.com,
Report Documents How Elephant Poaching Supports Lord’s Resistance Army
WASHINGTON – Human rights groups released a multimedia report and video documenting new evidence that the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, has turned to elephant poaching as a means to fuel its atrocities.
“Kony’s Ivory,” co-authored by the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, and co-produced by Invisible Children and The Resolve, combines photos and satellite imagery of an abandoned LRA camp in Congo’s Garamba National Park with eyewitness reports that LRA fighters rendezvous with helicopters to trade ivory for arms, ammunition, and food.
Co-author Kasper Agger, an Enough Project LRA field researcher based in Kampala, Uganda, states:
“After months of uncertainty, we now have proof that the LRA is killing elephants trading ivory for resources that help the group to survive. Greater investments are needed to combat the LRA across central Africa. 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.”
International NGO African Parks employs approximately 130 rangers who are charged with patrolling Garamba. But they are outmanned and sometimes outgunned.
Peter Fearnhead, Chief Executive Officer of African Parks, which has jurisdiction and which manages the park on behalf of the Congolese wildlife authority called the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, stated:
“The Lord’s Resistance Army is now part of a larger poaching crisis that is decimating elephants throughout central Africa. The high price of ivory is increasingly incentivizing the involvement of armed groups such as the LRA, sustaining their atrocities in the region. Given the presence of the LRA in Garamba, the Park’s elephants are particularly under threat. In the 1970s, 20,000 elephants roamed Garamba. Today, our management is fighting to conserve the remaining 1,800 to 2,500 elephants. But the battle is far from lost. With more training, better equipment, and intelligence support, Garamba’s elephants will be saved.”
The report offers recommendations to combat the ivory trade. These include the expansion of programs to increase LRA defections, improvement of intelligence gathering and additional support for park rangers and other forces pursuing the LRA, and investment in livelihoods and infrastructure for local communities to provide alternatives to rebel activity and large-scale wildlife poaching. The report also calls for innovative uses of aerial reconnaissance, satellite surveillance, infrared sensors, and radar to track poachers by examining their hiding places, campsites, and water sources.
Report co-author Jonathan Hutson, Director of Communications for the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project, stated:
“African wildlife parks have become automated teller machines for armed groups that commit atrocities. They find a readily available source of support in poaching elephants and other protected species. That is a driver which contributes to record levels of poaching. Of course, the LRA is not the only group benefiting from the surging black market for ivory. Park rangers suspect that members of the Congolese, Sudanese, South Sudanese, and Ugandan armed forces, as well as janjaweed militias from Darfur, are killing elephants at an accelerating pace.”
Since 2005, Garamba has been one of the LRA’s hiding places in central Africa. But the LRA’s elephant poaching was not previously documented.
Multiple sources report that a group of heavily armed LRA fighters have picked up tusks from rendezvous points in Garamba and transported them north through the Central African Republic towards Sudan. An LRA defector reported that his group, based in the Kafia Kingi enclave – a disputed border region between Sudan and South Sudan – sold tusks poached in Congo to members of the Sudan Armed Forces.
The report concludes that the resources gained from the illegal trade of ivory undercut the efforts of the African Union Regional Task Force soldiers to combat the LRA and undermine the mission of U.S. military advisors to assist their work.
Read the report, “Kony’s Ivory: How Elephant Poaching in Congo Helps Support the Lord’s Resistance Army”: http://www.enoughproject.org/files/KonysIvory.pdf
The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more about Enough, go to www.enoughproject.org.
The Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, a partnership between the Enough Project and DigitalGlobe, conducts monitoring of the border between Sudan and South Sudan to assess the human security situation, identify potential threats to civilians, and detect, deter and document war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Enough Project provides field research, policy context, and communications strategy. DigitalGlobe provides imagery from its constellation of satellites and geospatial analysis from the DigitalGlobe Analysis Center. SSP is funded primarily by Not On Our Watch.
This report, based on field research conducted by Kasper Agger and Jonathan Hutson in January 2013, documents new evidence that the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, has turned to elephant poaching as a means to fuel its atrocities.This report is a co-production of the Enough Project, The Resolve, Invisible Children, and the Satellite Sentinel Project (with DigitalGlobe).
As we gather to mark April as Genocide Awareness month, to recognize atrocities across the world and throughout history, it's important not just to recognize the past, but to learn from it. Read More »
On Friday, April 26, The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative released a report “Hidden in Plain Sight,” documenting the renewal of Sudan’s support to the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, from 2009 until February 2013. Read More »
Contact: Jonathan Hutson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Report Confirms Recent Renewal of Sudan’s Support to LRA Leader Joseph Kony
New report uses satellite imagery and testimony from Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) defectors to document the renewal of Sudan’s support to the LRA from 2009 until at least early 2013, and to pinpoint the likely location of rebel leader Joseph Kony’s recent camp in Sudanese-controlled territory
Eyewitnesses testify that elements from Sudan’s military actively provided Kony and other LRA leaders with periodic safe haven in Sudanese-controlled territory from 2009 until at least February 2013
Satellite imagery shows likely location of Kony’s recently abandoned camp
Sudan also provided limited material support to the LRA and has failed to fully cooperate with African Union and United Nations initiatives to arrest Kony
WASHINGTON -- A new report confirms Sudan’s renewal of support to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group from October 2009 through at least February of 2013. The report includes satellite imagery of a likely LRA encampment in Sudanese-controlled territory where rebel leader Joseph Kony was last sighted in late 2012 and reportedly remained for several more weeks. The imagery indicates the camp was abandoned by March 2013, but Kony reportedly remains nearby in neighboring Central African Republic and could seek to reestablish his presence in Sudanese-controlled territory in coming months.
“As long as Kony is able to find a safe haven in Sudan, he can avoid pursuit by Ugandan forces by simply crossing the border whenever they get close,” said Michael Poffenberger, Executive Director of The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative and one of the report’s primary authors. “Sudan should not be allowed to harbor one of the most brutal and notorious war criminals in the world with impunity.”
The report, Hidden in Plain Sight: Sudan’s Harboring of the LRA in the Kafia Kingi Enclave, 2009-2013, documents how Kony’s forces first reestablished contact with the Sudanese military in late 2009. LRA fighters then periodically used the area as a safe haven for more than three years, as pursuing Ugandan forces, authorized by the African Union, were not allowed access to the area. Kony himself was first sighted there in 2010 and was reportedly based in the area for significant portions of 2012.
“The LRA’s abandonment of their camp in Sudanese-controlled territory presents an opportunity for Sudan to definitively cut ties to the group,” said Paul Ronan, Director of Policy at The Resolve and another primary author. “International efforts to arrest Kony and stop LRA attacks are likely to fail unless the African Union and regional leaders secure Sudan’s full cooperation.”
The Resolve’s Poffenberger and Ronan co-authored the report, which is co-produced by Invisible Children and the Enough Project.
“Current international efforts to stop LRA violence are making significant gains, but they can only go so far as long as Sudan allows Kony and his fighters safe haven,” said Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children. “If regional and international leaders are serious about ending LRA violence once and for all, they must address this issue with Sudan and seek a solution.”
The safe haven and limited material support Sudan provided to the LRA from 2009-2013 represent the latest upswing in a long history of cooperation between the two actors. Sudan previously provided safe haven, arms, and training to the LRA from 1994 until 2004 before ties were rekindled again in 2009.
“For years, Sudanese support transformed the LRA into a significant threat to civilians and regional stability,” said Mark Quarterman, Research Director of the Enough Project. “At a time when US and regional operations to arrest Kony are more concerted than ever before, renewed support from Sudan seriously undermines these efforts. The Obama administration should work with the African Union and the United Nations to ensure that Khartoum does not provide safe haven or material assistance to the LRA.”
This paper provides the most definitive documentation to date of Sudan’s renewed ties to the LRA. It cites interviews with eight LRA defectors who were eyewitnesses to LRA movements into Sudanese-controlled territory, four of whom provided separate accounts of Kony’s presence and activities there. These testimonies are corroborated by satellite imagery analysis conducted by DigitalGlobe and commissioned by Amnesty International USA, as well as independent reports from government and other sources in the region.
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a“3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.