Ugandan Rebel Group ADF Training, Recruiting in DRC

Ugandan Rebel Group ADF Training, Recruiting in DRC

IRIN News reported that The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan anti-government group — once defeated by the Ugandan military — is now recruiting members and training for planned attacks.

The report said that NTV Uganda tweeted about the thousands of Congolese who fled from the DRC to Bundibugyo, a Ugandan border town, after ADF had an altercation with DRC’s national army (FARDC) on Thursday.

“The threat is real. ADF is recruiting, training and opening new camps in eastern DRC. We are alert and very prepared to deal with any attack on our side of the border,” spokesman for the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), Lt Col Paddy Ankunda told IRIN News.

“We are sharing intelligence information with the DRC government [and] FARDC about their activities. We hope FARDC will be able to deal with the group.”

In 2001, the U.S. placed ADF on a terrorist organization list as the group is believed to have Al-Qaeda ties, according to IRIN News. Ankunda also said that ADF “collaborates” and has picked up explosive device tactic trainings from Somali rebel group Al-Shabab.

With a rumored 1,200 members, ADF — Ankunda noted — has ramped up numbers by kidnapping men in Uganda and in DRC’s North Kivu Province, IRIN News reported.

Together forming ADF-NALU, ADF was once a part of the Ugandan rebel group National Army for the Liberation up until 2007, according to the report. Before the UPDF silenced ADF in 2004, the group sporadically attacked displacement camps across Uganda. Attacks worsened and increased almost every year after ADF’s founding in 1996.

According to IRIN News, officials are hoping that the UN will intervene in DRC to help combat the group’s plans of attacks. Uganda is not relying on DRC authorities to handle ADF.

“The LRA [Lord’s Resistance Army] and ADF are Uganda’s problems and will remain so, no matter where they are located at a particular time, until we seek a comprehensive solution to conflicts in this country,” Stephen Oola, a transitional justice and governance analyst at Uganda’s Makerere University’s Refugee Law Project, told IRIN News.

“The allegations that ADF is regrouping are not new and should not come as a surprise. What should worry us as a country is the apparent collective amnesia of treating our own exported armed insurgencies as other people’s problems.”