There could be no link between poaching and terrorism, report says


Stella Chorono, Daily Nation

Date Published


It is difficult to ascertain whether money derived from poaching is used to fund terrorism, a report has revealed.
The report, released on Monday by the Tsavo Conservation Group, indicated that empirical proof that directly links terrorist organisations to illegal trade in elephant ivory is difficult to determine.

“More action is needed to ensure that such groups as Al-Shabaab do not profit from large-scale elephant poaching,” the report stated.

After the group claimed responsibility for the September 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi that left at least 67 dead, various analysts suggested that the group was funded by ivory trade.

But the report, titled Ivory and Terrorism in East Africa: Dispelling the Myth, stated that the exact correlation of organised crime to terrorism is difficult to articulate.

It recommends establishing a “hub” where financial data can be stored, analysed and shared and from which strategic and tactical options can be offered to appropriate decision-making arms of governments.

“While some considered those claims over-hyped to gain attention, others argued that links between poaching and terrorism had been ignored and denied for too long,” the report stated.

It suggested that governments should prioritize activities that could deny the terror groups an opportunity to engage in illegal ivory trade, rather than trying to find proof that the two crimes are interlinked.

“Poaching for ivory and rhino horn contributes to a wider destabilization threat that is now looming over many African countries.

“Poaching is no longer just a conservation issue, but forms part of a wider hybrid threat, entwined with lawlessness, poverty, conflict, and corruption, among others [and therefore] impacting the stability of countries and regions,” said Ian Saunders, co-founder of the Tsavo Conservation Group.

The report notes that some understanding exists about the raising, storage and movement of finance derived from malign groups connected to the East African region.

Link to the the report by Tsavo Conservation Group: Ivory and Terrorism in East Africa: Dispelling the Myth