Illegal extraction of natural resources finances terror and war, says a report

According to a report, illegal extraction of natural resources such as gold, oil, coal, timber etc, has become the primary source of funding for the terrorist  groups.

On Wednesday, the World Atlas of Illicit Flows report concluded that these ways of financing the armed forces are trending more than the traditional ways such as kidnapping, extortion and drug smuggling.

The report says, of over 250 billion dollars annually generated illegally in conflict areas, 96 percent go to organized, criminal groups.This money will help to fund armed conflict in the next run.

“Organized crime is increasingly undermining peace, security and development,” said Mark Shaw, director of Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

The organization has prepared the atlas for the illegal cash flows in cooperation with Interpol and the Norwegian Rhipto Center, which cooperates with the UN.

“Criminal networks and their activities are emerging during armed conflicts, which in turn undermine legal certainty,” said Interpol’s Secretary-General Jürgen Stock.

Cash flows

The report shows that illegal extraction of natural resources generates an estimated 38 percent of the cash flows of armed groups in conflict areas.

“When the revenues from these natural resources are combined with illegal taxation and extortion from the same non-state armed groups, the figure is as high as 64 percent,” he said in a press release.

Drug smuggling accounts for 28 percent of the illegal cash flows, according to the report, while 26 percent of the money comes from illegal taxation, extortion, confiscation and robbery.

Gifts from external donors and money earned on illegal kidnapping and payroll payout generate about 3 percent of the illegal income, while illegal mining and trafficking of coal and antiques accounts for about 1 percent each.

“Combating organized crime must be considered as a major factor in conflict prevention and conflict resolution, if we are to succeed in maintaining peace,” says Christian Nellemann, leader of the Rhipto Center.

World’s 7 largest groups

According to the report, the world’s seven largest rebel groups earn annually between 8 and 11 billion dollars on the illegal activity.

By 2017, 40,000 Taliban members earned between 610 and 772 million dollars on taxation, especially drugs, rural areas and agricultural products, and on gifts from abroad.

In the summer of 2017, the Islamist group IS in Iraq and Syria earned a total of NOK 80 million a month.

“Today, with dramatic loss of land, IS probably not over more than a quarter of this, it’s called.

However, according to the report, at the height of its power, in 2014, IS earned between 4.5 and almost 14 billion.

The report also draws the merged, al-Qaeda-related HTS groups in the Sahel area of ​​Africa and JNIM in Syria. Both groups earn up to NOK 280 million on illegal taxation, gifts from abroad, kidnapping with claims for ransom, extortion and smuggling of cigarettes and drugs.

Other groups that finance their activities with criminal activities include Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al-Shaabab in Somalia and FARC in Colombia.

– Strengthened enforcement of the law, information sharing and analysis work are crucial to preventing, troubling and defeating violent armed groups and the organized criminal actors who create a situation of impunity and instability, according to the rapporteurs.


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