The connection between ivory and terrorism continues to include many terrorist groups. Boko Haram, a branch of the Islamic State of Iraq active in the north of Nigeria since 2009, (The name means “non-Islamic education is a sin.”) wants to impose Islamic law as the only law in Nigeria, and is also among the militants making money from trafficking ivory tusks from slaughtered elephants to pay their fighters and buy arms and ammunition.
South Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Zambia’s eastern border, Sudan and Chad are five of the world’s least stable nations, as ranked by the Washington, D.C.-based organization, “The Fund for Peace,” and are home to people who travel to other countries to kill elephants.
Year after year, the path to many of the biggest, most horrific elephant killings traces back to Sudan, which has no elephants left but gives comfort to foreign-born poacher-terrorists and is home to the janjaweed (from the Arabic words for “man,” “gun,” and “horse” a militia that operates in Darfur, Western Sudan and eastern Chad. Park rangers are often the only forces going up against the killers. Outnumbered and ill equipped, they’re manning the front line in a violent battle that affects us all.
In late December 2011, 100 Sudanese horseback poachers crossed from Chad into Bouba NDjida National Park in northeastern Cameroon. The raiders, thought to be affiliated with Sudan’s Janjaweed militia overran the unarmed eco-guards and then herded elephant families together and systemically shot calves and their mothers. By April, about 400 of the park’s savannah elephants were wiped out through this mass killing.
A January 31, 2014 article in The Washington Post makes the connection between conservation and terrorism stating the United States should help combat poaching because it funds terrorism. Our military strategy to combat terrorism should join forces with efforts to protect endangered elephants and rhinos before it is too late.
Written By: Pat Cole