US sanctions two Lord's Resistance Army ivory traders

Thursday December 14 2017

Lord's Resistance Army leader  Joseph Kony.

Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony. FILE PHOTO 

By AFP

The United States on Wednesday imposed economic sanctions on two Africans accused of using the illegal ivory trade to funnel weapons and money to Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army.

Washington blacklisted Kony and his rebel guerilla group last year, accusing them of targeting civilians in the Central African Republic, displacing populations and carrying out abductions.

"Treasury will continue to target armed groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army and their support networks that rely on the global ivory trade and wildlife trafficking to finance their violent campaigns," John Smith, who administers the Treasury Department's sanctions office, said in a statement.

The US received assistance from Ugandan and Sudanese authorities in the effort, he said.
The sanctioned individuals are Okut Lukwang, a Ugandan serving as an LRA intelligence officer, and Musa Hatari, a Sudanese merchant, according the Treasury. US authorities did not have precise dates of birth for either person.

As a result of the sanctions, financial institutions subject to US legal jurisdiction are generally prohibited from dealing with both people, freezing them out of much of the global financial system. Any US-based assets are also frozen.

According to the Treasury, Lukwang has overseen logistics and run day-to-day operations for the LRA group directly controlled by Kony, which has command and control of three other LRA groups.

US officials say Lukwang acted as the LRA's ivory broker, drawing on Kony's hidden caches of elephant tusks to sell the contraband material in exchange for cash, ammunition and weapons.

They also allege he has coerced civilians to provide information on troop deployments to provide intelligence to Kony.

Hatari is allegedly the primary supplier of munitions, food and supplies to the LRA and moves the rebel group's ivory through shops in the Songo Market in the disputed Kafia Kingi region between Sudan and South Sudan.

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