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Joseph Kony's rebels trade in ivory, minerals despite hunt for its leaders, say rights groups

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 file photo, Kenyan officials display some of more than 1,600 pieces of illegal ivory found hidden inside bags of sesame seeds in freight traveling from Uganda, in Kenya's major port city of Mombasa, Kenya. Warlord Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army rebel group is increasingly trafficking in ivory and minerals to obtain weapons and other supplies to be used in the jungles of central Africa, watchdog groups said in a report released Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. (AP Photo, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 file photo, Kenyan officials display some of more than 1,600 pieces of illegal ivory found hidden inside bags of sesame seeds in freight traveling from Uganda, in Kenya's major port city of Mombasa, Kenya. Warlord Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army rebel group is increasingly trafficking in ivory and minerals to obtain weapons and other supplies to be used in the jungles of central Africa, watchdog groups said in a report released Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2006 file photo the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, left, and his deputy Vincent Otti sit inside a tent at Ri-Kwamba in Southern Sudan. Warlord Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army rebel group is increasingly trafficking in ivory and minerals to obtain weapons and other supplies to be used in the jungles of central Africa, watchdog groups said in a report released Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Stuart Price, File, Pool)

    FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2006 file photo the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, left, and his deputy Vincent Otti sit inside a tent at Ri-Kwamba in Southern Sudan. Warlord Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army rebel group is increasingly trafficking in ivory and minerals to obtain weapons and other supplies to be used in the jungles of central Africa, watchdog groups said in a report released Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Stuart Price, File, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 file photo, a herd of adult and baby elephants walks in the dawn light as the highest mountain in Africa Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is seen in the background, in Amboseli National Park, southern Kenya. Warlord Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army rebel group is increasingly trafficking in ivory and minerals to obtain weapons and other supplies to be used in the jungles of central Africa, watchdog groups said in a report released Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 file photo, a herd of adult and baby elephants walks in the dawn light as the highest mountain in Africa Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is seen in the background, in Amboseli National Park, southern Kenya. Warlord Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army rebel group is increasingly trafficking in ivory and minerals to obtain weapons and other supplies to be used in the jungles of central Africa, watchdog groups said in a report released Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)  (The Associated Press)

Watchdog groups say Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army is increasingly trafficking in ivory and minerals to obtain weapons and other supplies to be used in the jungles of central Africa.

Enough Project, Invisible Children and The Resolve said in a report released Wednesday that the rebels' illegal trade in ivory, diamonds and gold may be linked to the LRA's efforts to improve relations with other armed groups such as Central African Republic's Seleka militia.

Kony's LRA comprises a few hundred fighters who are being hunted down by African Union troops as well as U.S. advisers.

The report says the rebel group transports most of the illicit ivory and minerals to an area controlled by Sudan, although some are traded locally with the Seleka and local civilians.