The Return of an Old Militia Will it haunt Central Africa?

By Scott A Morgan
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When report in May 2010 revealed that the Ugandan Government was concerned about reports that the Allied Democratic Forces were reorganizing in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo there was ample reason for skepticism.

In General when People hear about Militias in the Eastern DRC causing problems they generally think of the CNDP or the FDLR. The ADF is not given any consideration at all. It has been widely assumed that the Group was destroyed by Ugandan Military action in 2004 and by Operation North Night a joint Military Operation by MONUC (United Nations Mission in the Congo) and the Congolese Army. After that there were reports of a clash between the UPDF and the ADF in March of 2007.

One may ask why is there a reason to be cautious regarding the reports of the ADF reforming in the DRC? Recent History shows that in previous election cycles President Museveni of Uganda has used threats of attacks by the ADF as planks in his reelection campaign. In 2005 the President sought the approval of the Bush Administration to launch another Invasion of the Congo to deal with this perceived threat against Uganda.

Like the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) which is currently creating havoc in the Central African Republic and Sudan at this time the ADF seeks to overthrow the Museveni Government. However the Powerbases of these two Militias are from different parts of Uganda. Traditionally the LRA has drawn its power from the Acholi dominated Northern Region. The ADF which has a core base that is Muslim draws its Support from the Western Part of the Country.

Currently MONUC has an Operation called Amani Leo active in the Eastern Part of the Congo. As this item was being prepared the Congolese Army released Casualty Reports that indicate at least 60 Rwandan and Ugandan Insurgents were killed during Operations conducted this month. So it appears that even though MONUC has started the process to withdraw from the Congo the problems do not appear to have been resolved.

When the reports of the reemergence of the ADF started coming out there was a train of thought that garnered my interest. There were some statements that indicated that the group would not be seen as a threat to the Oil Industry that is developing in both the Congo and Uganda. It is interesting to see why such logic would be used at this time. One Possible answer is that there is not enough money to be made in this industry yet. Or it appears that other activities such as Diamond and Weapons Smuggling are more lucrative at this time.

Another Train of thought has indicated that the ADF is another route for Al-Shaabab or another Al-Qaeda aligned group to launch Operations against Uganda for its efforts in Somalia. This cannot be ignored directly. Reported efforts by Al-Qaeda to get access to Uranium in the DRC back in 2003 lend some credence to this thought. Still another train of thought could be that there may be a role by Sudan in this.

Earlier this month there were reports of a Clash between the UPDF (Ugandan Peoples Defense Forces) and the Janjaweed in the Central African Republic. Tensions have been simmering between Uganda and Sudan over several factors including the aforementioned LRA and the recently concluded and controversial Presidential Elections in April. In the past Sudan has supported the ADF according to Ugandan Military sources to offset the efforts by Uganda to support the Independence Efforts of Southern Sudan.

So now just what is the reason for these reports? Part of the reason is Political Posturing in Kampala. But other factors are at play as well. Unconfirmed reports indicate that Al-Qaeda is trying to establish links with the ADF again. It could be that there are parties seeking chaos to strengthen their own position in the region or amongst the Great Powers. What ever it is a dangerous precedent is being set for the region. And does anyone care to hazard a guess at what chaos that will bring?

The Author Comments on US Policy Toward Africa and publishes Confused Eagle. Confused Eagle can be found at

Accra / Ghana/ Africa /