n Africa Conflict Monthly Monitor - The Ugandan-spawned rebel group in the eastern DRC - when everything is al-Qaeda - : East Africa - issue in focus

Volume 2013, Issue 09
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Amidst the stream of media attention paid towards the fight against the M23 rebel movement in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), there operates another Ugandan-formed, Congolese-staffed rebel organisation, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). Although originally Ugandan and formed by a Christian-to-Islam convert Jamil Mukulu, the ADF now bears more similarity to Congolese rebels groups than to Ugandan organisations. The group recruits and consists, in a large part, of Congolese rebels and strong-armed militia that operates within the eastern DRC, and in mid-July ambushed a Jordanian and Nepalese convoy of the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO). Put simply, the ADF represents a significant destabilising threat in Central and Eastern Africa.

However, Ugandan military sources have fingered the ADF as a radical Islamist group, linked to al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab, thus raising the spectre of Islamist terrorism once again in Central and Eastern Africa. In so doing, the Ugandan Government has set in motion two major consequences for the ADF and the government forces. Firstly, this labelling allows for an interesting dynamic whereby American or Western powers with a counter-terrorism agenda in Uganda and the eastern DRC could possibly be drawn into what would otherwise be a domestic rebel movement.

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