Ivory trade and diamonds funding Isis rise in Africa

A new report says jihadist groups are behind the exploitation of elephants, rhinos and pangolins

Islamic State is using ivory smuggling and illegal trade in wildlife, sugar and diamonds to finance its expansion in Africa, according to a new report.

Last week Islamist fighters killed scores of people and displaced hundreds more as they stormed the town of Palma in Mozambique, raising fears that the region will be unable to contain the rapidly expanding insurgency.

Illicit trade is the lifeblood which sustains extremist groups operating in East Africa, wrote Sir Ivor Roberts, a former British ambassador to Yugoslavia, Ireland and Italy, in a report for the Counter Extremism Project.

It says that jihadist groups linked to Isis are working with criminal gangs that funnel illicit goods into east Africa, to be sold in international markets. Somalia’s al-Shabaab and Mozambique’s Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah are two groups that are behind the exploitation of endangered species including elephants, rhinos and pangolins.

Isis claimed responsibility for last weeks attack, prompting scepticism about the feasibility of a nearby $20 billion offshore gas project. Oil major Total has suspended operations in the area, citing security concerns.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/8a9441aa-956d-11eb-934d-93ce24b2a1c4?shareToken=e59199d7653494707f3ad822123b5b68
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