Kony kills 100 elephants yearly

May 30, 2018

Kidega, who has been in captivity for 15 years, said after returning from their hunting zone, they hand over the consignment to Joseph Kony’s immediate team that delivers it to Dafur where he’s suspected to be hiding.

After Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels losing grip on guerilla warfare in South Sudan and Central African Republic, the armed group has diverted to killing Elephants from Garamba forest in DRC for elephants tusks.

Patrick Kidega aged 32 years who defected   in November 2017 has been part of the two rebel groups that have been going to DRC to kill elephants.

The defector told New Vision that the hunt for tusks begun three years ago and the operation is carried out thrice in a year. "Every time we go from CAR to DRC, we would spend like four months. Each year, more than 100 elephants are killed," he added.

Kidega, who has been in captivity for 15 years, said after returning from their hunting zone, they hand over the consignment to Joseph Kony's immediate team that delivers it to Dafur where he's suspected to be hiding.

Apart from killing elephants, Kidega says Kony is also dealing in Gold and Diamond. These are suspected to be exchanged for cattle to feed the rebels while others are sold in Middle East, Dubai and Asia.

When asked the strength of the rebel group, Kidega who was at a rank of Serget said the number of the rebels has drastically specifically the Acholi's who are estimated be only 80.

"Some of these have defected while others are killed during exchanges with CAR government forces," he told New Vision.

How Kidega defected
Kidega recounts that during the last operation from DRC to kill Elephants his mind just changed suddenly and started thinking about home.

"I thought of my tribe and decided to pick my wife and our son we started moving for 19 days from the border of Dafur to CAR," he recalls.

He was received at Obbo by CAR forces where he spent one week. I was started nearly to death. "I did not eat for one week. They only gave me tea in the evening. It was a certain white man who helped me to inform other people about my existence," he added.

Transfer to Uganda
When David Ociti Okech the program director of Path ways to Peace Uganda a local community based organization based in Gulu district heard about the defection of Kidega, he immediately started tracing his home.

Ociti picked Kidega from Obbo about two months ago to Gulu municipality in Uganda where he spent a month at Child Protection Unit as he was going through rehabilitation before reintegration.

However, Ociti noted that for the last four years most of returnees that he has reintegrated with their families, they face a challenge of economic livelihood and psychosocial support.

There's no any support towards these recent returnees and when they reach home, it becomes hard for them to catch up with life," he noted.

Since 2014, a total of 87 homes whose their relatives are suspected still to be in captivity have been traced but only 47 have returned and fully integrated.

During Kidega's reintegration with the family in Larakaraka village Omiya Anyim sub-county Kitgum district, Auma Beatrice 21 years said Kidega was abducted along the road from school at 4pm in the evening.

Auma described the return of his brother as a miracle from God noting that hopes of seeing him had faded completely.

Moses Komakech Luritamoi, 52 years and the village chairman but also a family member said whenever rebels raided their area, they would camp just about 500 meters away from their home.

In that family, three people were abducted. Quinto Ocan and Charles Omony but they came back after two years in 2004.

Kony is a rebel leader of the LRA and wanted by The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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