Allied Democratic Forces
National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU)
Armee Nationale De Liberation De L’Ouganda
Forces Democratiques Alliees
Islamic Alliance Of Democratic Forces
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. According to the UN, most of its members are Islamists who want to establish Sharia law in 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, formed in the late 1990s, is not to be confused with the DRC majority coalition's Alliance of Democratic Forces of Congo (AFDC) party.
The Ugandan government has alleged that ADF has support from Sudan, an assertion backed up by Western diplomatic sources. It also says the ADF has links with Somalia’s al-Shabab, although some analysts contest this. Analysts agree the group has a bad human rights record.
The ADF is led by a Muslim, Jamir Mukulu and operated in western Uganda. Historically it has used Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) territory for its bases. However, the ADF was initially severely crippled by the establishment of Laurent Kabila's Government in the DRC in May 1997 and by its subsequent provision to the UPDF of access to rebel bases in the DRC. It was reported that The United Arab Emirates was the ADF's main arms supplier. Iran, another Islamic State, was also supplying arms to the ADF via an Islamic foundation based in South Africa.
In July 1999, The Monitor newspaper estimated that 1500 of 2000 ADF rebels had been killed, leaving only 500 in hiding in the Rwenzori mountains and in August 1999 they allegedly wrote to the UPDF Commander in the region asking for peace talks, saying they were tired of fighting. The UPDF had guaranteed their negotiators' safety but remained sceptical as to the real intentions of the group.
The Allied Democratic Forces is one of the oldest armed groups in eastern Congo, but it is also one of the most mysterious. The ADF originated as a coalition of groups in western Uganda who found themselves marginalized after the fall of the late president Idi Amin. In the early 1990s they regrouped inside Congo, in the territory of Beni, where they forged alliances with powerful individuals from the Nande community and made money from timber and gold.
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.
In western Uganda, the ADF conducted an abusive campaign in the Rwenzori mountain region, where they brutalised and killed civilians and looted. Hundreds of civilians were killed in ADF raids and ambushes on unprotected civilian homes throughout 1999. Some of those killed by the ADF were mutilated, sometimes by beheading. Civilians, both adults and children, had been abducted during ADF raids to serve as porters or for forced recruitment into the rebel army. International aid agencies, including the World Food Program, Medecins sans Frontieres and Action Aid were repeatedly forced to suspend their life-sustaining humanitarian activities in western Uganda due to security threats. As a result of this the local population suffered from shortages of food, medicine and shelter. There were repeated outbreaks of cholera caused
by poor sanitation and overcrowded living conditions in displaced persons camps.
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.
The ADF, with an estimated 1,200 to 1,500 armed fighters, launched a series of attacks in 2013 against civilians in the DRC, forcing thousands of people to flee into Uganda and abducting or killing those that attempted to return. The ADF was also responsible for brutal attacks on women and children in several villages, including acts of beheading, mutilation, and rape. In recent years, the ADF has boosted its numbers through kidnapping as well as recruiting children, allegedly as young as 10 years old, to serve as child soldiers against the Ugandan government.
On 01 July 2014 the U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) for targeting children in situations of armed conflict, including through killing, rape, abduction and forced displacement. This action was taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13413, which authorizes Treasury to designate those who engage in certain activities connected with widespread violence and atrocities that threaten regional stability.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the ADF’s activities and continuing violence against civilians," said David S. Cohen, Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “With yesterday’s UN Security Council action, the international community made clear that groups responsible for such atrocities must be isolated, and we will use our authorities to target those linked to this abhorrent group."
This action was taken in support of the UN Security Council’s imposition of targeted sanctions (a travel ban and an assets freeze) against the ADF yesterday under the authority of various UN resolutions. The ADF has been placed on the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. All property and interests in property in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which the ADF has an interest are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with the ADF.
A United Nations human rights report released 13 May 2015 said that the Uganda-based Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) committed grave violations of international humanitarian law in crisis-riven north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The report said that the ADF committed the violations, which were systematic and extremely brutal, and which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, over a three-month period at the end of 2014 in Beni territory, North Kivu province.
“In light of the magnitude and the persistence of the attacks by ADF combatants, I call upon the Congolese authorities to take, as soon as possible, all the necessary measures to put an end to the massacres of civilians," said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DRC, Martin Kobler.
In total, ADF combatants attacked 35 villages, killing at least 237 civilians, including 65 women and 35 children, between 1 October and 31 December 2014, with a further 47 civilians wounded, 20 abducted and two sexually abused. Several cases of looting and destruction of property were also documented. The attackers used machetes, hammers and knives, among other weapons, to wound or execute civilians. Some had their throats slit, were shot at while trying to flee or were burned alive in their homes.
Formal collaboration between the Congolese army and the approximately 17,000 peacekeepers in MONUSCO was suspended in February 2015 over UN objections to the appointment of two suspected human rights abusers to command a joint operation. Since then, the army’s collaboration with MONUSCO against the ADF had been limited. Some 450 civilians had been killed by the ADF and other forces in Beni territory in dozens of incidents in the year since October 2014. Since mid-2015, the Congolese army has taken a more aggressive stance, and there has been increased fighting between soldiers and armed groups sometimes described as "presumed ADF."
In October 2015 the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s army launched an offensive in Beni territory against Ugandan Islamist ADF rebels, who had stepped up attacks on army positions. The UN-supported Radio Okapi, said the large-scale offensive, launched 30 October 2015, was backed by the intervention brigade of the UN mission, MONUSCO. The support was largely the provision of logistical support, water, health care and things like that, and there was no joint planning of operations.
By March 2016 attacks on civilians in the Beni region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo had killed at least 550 people over 18 months. Congolese officials placed the blame on the Allied Democratic Forces, characterized as a Ugandan Islamist movement, but a report from the Congo Research Group says it may not be that simple. Jason Stearns, lead author of the report, agreed that the ADF was partly responsible but said the group was not working alone. “The first conclusion [is] that the ADF is not really what people make it out to be," he said. "It’s not this foreign Islamist force; it’s a force that is much more rooted in local society. And the second conclusion is that it’s not just the ADF but also others who are involved in the massacres."
Suspected rebels killed dozens of civilians [as many as 50] in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo on 13 August 2016, marking the deadliest massacre in the conflict-ravaged region this year. The assailants hacked to death dozens of men and women in their homes and fields on the outskirts of the local commercial hub of Beni. More than 500 civilians had been killed near Beni since October 2014, most in overnight raids by rebels carried out with machetes and hatchets. Insufficient intelligence, coordination and resources have rendered the Congolese army and the country's UN peacekeeping force ineffective against the smaller ADF force.
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