ADF’s Massacres in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Ugandan terrorist group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) has launched a campaign over the past two months consisting of a series of overnight massacres. The latest attack was conducted on December 9th, where 16 people were slaughtered with machetes and axes in the village of Musuku in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This comes on the heels of a massacre on December 8th where 36 were killed by the same manner in the town of Beni, near the Ugandan border. Over 200 people have been killed since October in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo via ADF raids in villages.

Founded in 1996, the Allied Democratic Forces are an Islamic terrorist organization organized to overthrow the Ugandan government, which they see as hostile to Ugandan Muslims. In response, the ADF seeks to establish a government based on Sharia law in Uganda. Based in western Uganda with bases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the ADF has alleged ties to Somali terrorist organization Al-Shabaab. Originally thought to have been destroyed in 2007, the ADF resurfaced in the Congo in 2013 with a series of devastating attacks on several villages, as well as possibly having operatives take part in the Westgate Mall attack.  Other recent attacks include the assassination of Col. Mamadou Ndala, a Congolese army officer who led a particularly effective campaign against the ADF.

The ADF are infamous for impressing children into their army as well as their brutality. The Ugandan government claims that, in addition to aid from Al-Shabaab, the ADF are supported by the Sudanese government. Currently, the ADF are lead by Sheikh Jamil Mukulu, a subject of an INTERPOL notice for his ties to terrorism. Sheikh Jamil Mukulu, a former Catholic, is allegedly a personal acquaintance of Usama bin Laden, dating back to when they met in Khartoum when bin Laden lived there in the mid-1990s. Mukulu and the ADF received support from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, as well as Sudanese Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi. Early in 2005, Mukulu began distributing taped sermons where he exhorted Muslims to kill non-Muslims as well as those who did not fight against the infidels. Members of the ADF traveled to Afghanistan and Sudan to train, and apparently bin Laden saw the ADF as his agency to create an Islamist network in Africa.

Of particular note is the ADF is ideological connection to the Tablighi Jamaat. The Tabliq sect is a puritanical Deobandi interpretation of Sunni Islam founded in India. Tablighi Jamaat was founded as an apolitical movement centered on proselytizing missions, stressing individual faith and spiritual development; in fact, many Islamist groups attack Tablighi Jamaat seeing the movement as abandoning the external aspects of jihad. It is rare, although not unheard of, for Muslims following the Tablighi Jamaat teachings to be affiliated with Islamist organizations.