Allied Democratic Forces
National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU)

The Alliance of Democratic Forces (ADF) is made up of Ugandan opposition forces, supported by the Government of Sudan, which fought the Government of Uganda. This Ugandan Muslim rebel group has conducted limited activities in Uganda and DR Congo. The Allied Democratic Forces, originally a Ugandan based insurgency, now operates in eastern DRC and is listed as a terrorist organization.

The ADF launched its first attack against Uganda in 1996 and has been shrouded in mystery ever since. It periodically disappears and resurfaces. Supplied largely by the Sudanese secret services to wage a proxy war against Uganda (in response to the heavy support the SPLA had received from Uganda in South Sudan), the ADF promoted a heavily militarized Islamic agenda, coducting raids into southwest Uganda from bases in the Congolese Rwenzori Mountains. Largely dismantled by Ugandan offensives carried out in late 1998, the movement was subsequently largely dormant. Ugandan officials also charged that there are continuing links between the Allied Democratic Forces and al-Shabaab.

Insurgent groups in Uganda harass government forces and murder and kidnap civilians in the north and west. They do not, however, threaten the stability of the government. A group operating in western Uganda near the Rwenzori Mountains, the Allied Democratic Forces, emerged as a localized threat in 1996 and has inflicted substantial suffering on the population in the area. An ADF-affiliated group, the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU), also claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks that resulted in fatalities.

Based in the Ruwenzori mountains of western Uganda, the ADF was a combination of fundamentalist Tabliq Muslim rebels and remnants of another rebel group, the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU). It has claimed responsibility for a string of bomb blasts that have rocked the country, particularly Kampala, this year. It also frequently links up with the ex-FAR/Interahamwe militias operating in the region and is particularly active in the Bundibugyo area of western Uganda.

The ADF rebels, based in the Rwenzori Mountains, reportedly committed atrocities against the local civilian population, driving them from their homes and farms in the mountains into lowland towns. As the IDP population in the region grew to approximately 70,000 people, food became more scarce and the towns became unable to absorb them.

On 04 April 1998 the US Embassy reported that bombs exploded at two restaurants in Kampala, killing five persons--including one Swedish and one Rwandan national--and wounding at least six others. The restaurants, the Nile Grill and the cafe at the Speke Hotel, are within walking distance of the US Embassy and the Sheraton Hotel. A Ugandan Government official reported to local press that the Allied Democratic Forces may be responsible.

In the west and southwest, the rebel Allied Democratic Forces significantly heightened their activities in 1998, which included repeated attacks on civilian targets, trading centers, and private homes, resulting in hundreds of deaths and abductions. The ADF continued to plant land mines extensively and increased its attacks on both rural and urban civilian targets, police outposts, and UPDF encampments. In February 1998, 30 students were abducted by ADF rebels from Mitandi Seventh Day Adventist College in Kasese. In April 1998 rebels attacked a woman in Bundibugyo district and cut off her ears and nose. The ADF forces hacked two civilian women to death in Kasese district in May. The ADF's deadliest attack of the year occurred on 08 June 1998, when rebels killed 80 students of the Kichwamba Technical College in Kabarole district by setting locked dormitories on fire.

An additional 80 students were abducted in the raid. Also in June 1998, ADF rebels abducted over l00 school children from a school in Hoima district. ADF conducted dozens of small-scale raids that resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths. An ADF-affiliated group, the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda claimed responsibility for three bus bomb attacks in August 1998 that killed 30 persons.

On 09 December 1999 the Allied Democratic Forces began a renewed offensive in the Fort Portal Town, Kabarole district, and Bundibugyo Town, Bundibugyo district areas. These actions, which may have been instigated to combat the UPDF offensive "Operation Mountain Sweep," targeted barracks and a regional prison.

Before the January 2001 withdrawal agreements, the Ugandan army defeated the Allied Democratic Forces, the Islamic militia that had found sanctuary in the Congo and had conducted attacks against the Ugandan government. The defeat of the Allied Democratic Forces, coupled with President Kabila’s support for the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, encouraged Uganda to withdraw two of its battalions from the Congo. The uninvited military presence of Rwanda and Uganda was ending.

Uganda’s minister of internal affairs toldParliament as recently as 2002 that the ADF had ties with al-Qaida. It was claimed that Al-Qaida helped set up training camps for the ADF which operated out of the Eastern Congo.

In the past, the ADF made incursions into western Uganda along the Muzizi River, near Semliki National Park in Bundibugyo District. The ADF launched offensive actions into western Uganda in March 2007; the Ugandan military counter-attacked. This offensive military action resulted in the killing or capturing of 100 ADF fighters. The GOU remains vigilant for threats from the ADF but most analysts agree the ADF poses little threat to security in Uganda.

By 2007 foreign armed groups operating in the DRC were not just an internal problem; they are also a source of friction between the Congo and its neighbors. While the number of foreign fighters had diminished in recent years, they still pose a threat to a country's overall security and stability, and the Armed Forces of DR Congo [FARDC] had been largely unable to eliminate them. An estimated 500 members of the Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) operated in northeastern North Kivu along the Ugandan border. But Congolese and MONUC military officials claimed elements of the Allied Democratic Forces and National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) operating in the DRC no longer posed a significant security threat. They contend ADF-NALU numbers had been greatly reduced since joint Congolese armed forces (FARDC)-MONUC operations against the group in December 2005. This assessment followed recent fighting between ADF-NALU and Ugandan forces.

The presence of ADF bases was a major factor leading to the eventual Ugandan People’s Defense Force [UPDF] invasion of northeastern DRC. In 2010, ADF forces were active in Beni district near the Ugandan border. In June 2010, after consultations between the governments of Uganda and DRC, the Congolese armed forces launched a military operation known as Rwenzori against the ADF and its allies in Beni. The military operation dislodged ADF forces but also displaced an estimated 100,000 Congolese civilians, according to U.N. officials.

By July 2010 high levels of insecurity attributed to attacks by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and Mai Mai combatants, as well as fighting between the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) and Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF/NALU), continued to result in population displacement in North Kivu Province, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). As of August 31, approximately 890,000 of the more than 1.9 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) resided in North Kivu Province. Violence and population displacement also extended into South Kivu Province. On July 22, the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) launched an offensive against ADF/NALU combatants in Beni Territory. As of July 30, fighting had displaced an estimated 65,000 people within the territory, according to NGOs working in the area. Persistent insecurity in the region continued to limit humanitarian access and discourage repatriation.

On October 5, 2011 the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Jamil Mukulu, Commander of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), for his role as head of a foreign armed group operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that impedes the disarmament, repatriation, or resettlement of combatants. This action was taken pursuant to Executive Order 13413, which targets individuals and entities determined to be contributing to the conflict in the DRC. Mukulu is also the subject of a February 2011 INTERPOL red notice for his connection with terrorism. As a result of this action, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with Mukulu and any assets he may have under US jurisdiction are frozen.

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