Ivory poaching funds al-Shabab

AFP-JIJI

Somalia’s al-Shabab militia, which was behind the bloody attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, is in part funded by the poaching trade, wildlife activists said Thursday.

“Over the last 18 months, we’ve been investigating the involvement of al-Shabab in trafficking ivory through Kenya,” Andrea Crosta, executive director of the Elephant Action League said. The trade “could be supplying up to 40 percent of the funds needed to keep (the rebels) in business.” The wildlife group said links have also cropped up in recent years between the poaching trade and such organizations as the Lord’s Resistance Army of Uganda or Darfur’s Janjaweed militia.

Also Thursday, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined plans for an $80 million effort to curb the poaching and trafficking of elephants and rhinos in Africa. The three-year project at the Clinton Global Initiative also hopes to address the demand for ivory in Asia and the United States.

A number of African countries pledged their cooperation. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said the nations would support a moratorium on imports, exports and sales of tusks and ivory until the elephant population is no longer threatened.