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Allied Democratic Forces insurgency

  (Redirected from ADF insurgency)

The Allied Democratic Forces insurgency is an ongoing conflict waged by the Allied Democratic Forces in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, against the governments of those two countries. The insurgency began in 1995, intensifying in 2013, resulting in hundreds of deaths. The ADF is known to currently control a number of hidden camps which are home to about 2,000 people; in these camps, the ADF operates as proto-state with "an internal security service, a prison, health clinics, and an orphanage" as well as schools for boys and girls.[4]

Allied Democratic Forces insurgency
Part of Kivu conflict
Joint MONUSCO-FARDC operation against ADF in Beni (13246946614).jpg
A UNFIB soldier during an operation against the ADF in Beni
Date1996 – present[8]
(23 years)
Status Ongoing

 DR Congo

Supported by:

 United States[1]


Supported by:
International financial backers[4]
FARDC elements[2]
Al-Shabaab[3] (disputed)[6]
Various Jihadi groups (Ugandan and MONUSCO claim)[6]
 Sudan (1990s; currently unknown)[7]
Commanders and leaders

Yoweri Museveni
Michael Kabango
Joseph Kabila
Marcel Mbangu

James Aloizi Mwakibolwa

Jamil Mukulu (POW)[3]
Musa Baluku (WIA)
Hood Lukwago (Possibly KIA)[9]
Yusuf Kabanda  
Muhammad Kayiira  
Ashraf Lukwago

Frank Kithasamba[8][10]

40,000 UPDF
150,000 FARDC

3,000 UNFIB[11]


  • c. 500 core fighters[4]
Casualties and losses
17+ killed[12][3] (at least 15 Tanzanian[12], 1 Malawian,[13] 1 South African[14])
152+ killed[1][12]
314+ captured[1]
3,353+ people killed (including civilians, soldiers and rebels)[15][16][17][18][19]
150,000+ displaced[7]



The ADF was formed by Jamil Mukulu, an ultra conservative Ugandan Muslim, belonging to the Tablighi Jamaat group. Mukulu was born as David Steven and was baptised as a Catholic, later converting to Islam, adopting a Muslim name and becoming radicalised. He reportedly spent the early 1990s in Khartoum, Sudan, coming into personal contact with Osama bin Laden.[8]

ADF merged with the remnants of another rebel group, the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU), during the years following the fall of Idi Amin. ADF-NALU's initial goal was to overthrow Ugandan president's Yoweri Museveni government, replacing it with an Islamic fundamentalist state. The group went on to recruit former officers of the Ugandan army, as well as volunteers from Tanzania and Somalia. Funded by the illegal mining and logging industries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, ADF created 15 well organised camps in the Rwenzori Mountains, located in the DRC-Uganda border areas. The insurgence remained unaffected by government amnesty and talk efforts, as members married local women.[20]

According to intelligence sources, ADF has collaborated with al-Shabaab and Lord's Resistance Army. Receiving training and logistic support, with limited direct involvement from al-Shabaab's side. Other alleged sponsors of the faction include Sudanese Islamist politician Hassan al-Turabi and former DRC president Mobutu Sese Seko.[8][5]

Formed in 1989, ADF carried out its first attacks in 1995. The conflict gradually intensified, culminating in the 1998 Kichwamba Technical College attack, which left 80 people dead, with 80 more being abducted. By 2002, continuous pressure from the Ugandan Army forced ADF to relocate most of its activities into the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. The insurgency continued on a smaller scale until 2013, which marked a resurgence of ADF activity, with the group launching a recruitment campaign along with numerous attacks.[8][21][22]

Beni killingsEdit

A report of The Congo Research Group at New York University, released in September 2017, indicted the Congolese Army commanders of orchestrating the massacres in Beni from 2014 to 2016. It cited multiple witnesses saying that army commanders, including the former top general in the zone, supported and in some cases organized the killings. Sources told it that during some massacres, soldiers secured the perimeter so that victims could not escape. It stated that the first massacres were orchestrated in 2013 by former leaders of the rebel group Popular Congolese Army (APC), which fought in the Congo War of 1998-2003 to create a new rebellion and undermine confidence in the central government of DRC. These rebels were working with ADF per the report. However, when the massacres began, the army commanders co-opted many of the networks of the local militias to weaken their rivals.[23]



On 13 November 1996, ADF perpetrated its first large-scale attack on the towns of Bwera and Mpondwe-Lhubiriha in Kasese district, Uganda. Approximately 50 people were killed in the attack. 25,000 people fled the towns, before they were recaptured by Ugandan troops.[24][25]


On 20 February 1998, ADF abducted 30 children, in the aftermath of an attack on a Seventh-Day Adventist College in Mitandi, Kasese district.[7]

On 4 April 1998, 5 people were killed and at least 6 were wounded, when bombs exploded at two restaurants in Kampala.[26]

On 8 June 1998, ADF rebels killed 80 students of the Kichwamba Technical College in Kabarole District, Uganda. 80 students were abducted in the same raid.[26]

In June 1998, ADF rebels abducted over 100 school children from a school in Hoima, Uganda.[26]

In August 1998, 30 people were killed in three separate bus bombings, perpetrated by ADF.[26]


Between 10 April 1999 - 30 May 1999 ADF carried out seven attacks, resulting in 11 dead and 42 wounded.[7]

On 9 December 1999, ADF attacked the Katojo prison facility, releasing 360 prisoners held for terrorism.[7]

2007 to 2008Edit

A joint MONUSCO-FARDC patrol during an anti ADF operation.

During March 2007, the UPDF engaged ADF groups in multiple firefights, killing at least 46 in Bundibugyo and Mubende districts. The biggest battle occurred on March 27, when the UPDF faced an estimated 60 ADF troops and killed 34, including three senior commanders. The UPDF claimed to have retrieved numerous weapons as well as documents that tie the ADF to the LRA.[5]

On 13 April 2007, the UPDF and ADF engaged in an intense battle inside the Semuliki National Park, near the upscale Semliki Lodge tourist destination.[27]

Ceasefire and amnesty talks between the government of Uganda and the ADF were held in Nairobi starting in May 2008. Negotiations were complicated by the fragmentation of the ADF's leadership.[28] Non-combatant dependents of the ADF were repatriated to Uganda by the IOM. At least 48 ADF fighters surrendered and were given amnesty.[29] As the threat from the LRA in the DRC waned, the UPDF put increasing focus on the ADF as a reason for UPDF personnel to remain in the DRC.[30]

On 4 December 2007, 200 ADF and NALU militants surrendered to Ugandan authorities.[7]


Between February–March 2012, over 60 ADF insurgents were arrested within Uganda.[1]


On 24 January 2013, insurgents tortured and later executed 13 people who were previously abducted from the city of Oicha, North Kivu.[31]

In April 2013, it was reported that ADF started a recruitment campaign in Kampala and other parts of the country.[22] Citing a defector from ADF, "allAfrica" reported that some 10 new recruits joined ADF forces every day.[22]

In July 2013, the ADF renewed its fighting in the Congolese district of Beni. According to the UN Radio Okapi, the ADF together with the NALU, fought a pitched battle with the FARD, briefly taking the towns of Mamundioma and Totolito.[32] On July 11, the ADF attacked the town of Kamango, triggering the flight of over 60,000 refugees across the border into the Ugandan district of Bundibugyo.[33]

Early in September 2013, regional leaders under the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) asked the recently formed combative Intervention Brigade under MONUSCO to attack positions of foreign negative forces operating in DRC, including the ADF.[34]

On 23 September 2013, 3 people were killed during an ADF attack in the Watalinga Sector, North Kivu, DRC.[34]

On 27 September 2013, ADF militants killed five and abducted 30 people in an attack on a health center in the city of Maleki, DRC.[35]

On 23 October 2013, ADF guerrillas abducted 26 people from the village of Upira, North Kivu, later transferring them to the rebel strongholds of Makembi and Chuchubo.[36]

In the period between November 2012 and November 2013, ADF carried out 300 kidnappings.[37]

On 14 December 2013, 13 people were killed, in the aftermath of an ADF attack on the Musuku village, Uganda.[38]

On 15 December 2013, ADF killed eight people in the Biangolo village, Uganda.[38]

On 25 December 2013, ADF rebels attacked the city of Kamango, DRC. Over 50 civilians were killed and many buildings were burnt down. The city was retaken by the Congolese army the following day.[39]

On 29 December 2013, ADF rebels launched another attack on the city of Kamango. The ADF militants beheaded 21 civilians and urged the residents of the city to flee to Uganda.[39]


On 17 January 2014, the Congolese army drove ADF militants soldiers out of the city of Beni, with the aid of UN's “Intervention Brigade” peace corps.[39]

On 17 February 2014, a Congolese army spokesman announced that the military had killed 230 ADF rebels in the aftermath of a monthlong offensive, 23 FARDC soldiers were also killed in the operation.[40]

On 23 March 2014, South African helicopters struck ADF forces for the first time, in support of Operation Sukola 1.[41]

Between 5–8 October 2014, ADF militants killed 15 people, within the North Kivu province, DRC.[42]

On 15 October 2014, ADF rebels killed 27 people in an attack on villages, located outside Beni.[42]

On 18 October 2014, ADF insurgents killed over 20 people, in an attack on the village of Byalos, DRC.[42]

On 31 October 2014, a crowd stoned to death, burned and then ate a suspected ADF insurgent in the town of Beni. The incident came after a number of ADF raids, that brought the October's civilian death toll to over 100 people.[43]

On 20 November 2014, rebels disguised as Congolese soldiers killed between 50 and 80 people near Beni.[44]

On 8 December 2014, militants hacked to death 36 civilians in the vicinity of Beni.[45]

On 26 December 2014, an ADF attack resulted in the deaths of 11 people, in the village of Ndumi, Ituri.[46]


On 4 January 2015, a joint MONUSCO - FARDC offensive forced ADF militants out of the Mavure village, North Kivu. One rebel was killed, as government forces seized large amounts of drugs and training materials.[47]

On 5 February 2015, ADF carried out a night raid on the city of Beni hacking to death 23 people and injuring one.[48]

On 9 March 2015, ADF rebels killed one and injured two civilians in the area of the Semliki bridge, North Kivu.[49]

On 15 April 2015, an ADF attack on the villages of Matiba and Kinzika, Beni-Mbau sector, DRC, led to the deaths of 18 people.[50]

On 23 April 2015, ADF rebels massacred five civilians in the village of Kalongo, 6 km northwest of Oïcha.[51]

On 30 April 2015, the Ugandan media reported that the ADF's leader, Jamil Mukulu, had been arrested in Tanzania.[52]

On 8 May 2015, suspected ADF guerrillas attacked the Matembo neighborhood of the town of Mulekere, North Kivu. Seven people were slain in the attack bringing the region's 2015 death toll to over 300 casualties.[53]

In early December 2015, the ADF seized a MONUSCO base in North Kivu, killing a Malawian UN soldier in doing so. South African UN forces later retook the base, attacking with Rooivalk attack helicopters.[54]


29 February - Thirteen civilians were killed by suspected Ugandan rebels in the Beni territory in eastern DRC. The killings took place in the village of Ntombi, located about 40 km northeast of Beni, an area massacres and recurrent attacks attributed to Allied Democratic Forces, a rebel group opposed to the Ugandan government and is considered a terrorist organisation.[55]

20 March - A priest of the Congregation of Caracholine Nyamilima was shot and critically wounded like his driver and a child present in the same car. The attackers was the Allied Democratic Forces, a rebel group opposed to the Ugandan government and is considered a terrorist organisation[56]

In early May 2016, assailants from the ADF armed with machetes hacked at least 16 civilians to death in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.[57]

According to the Congolese military, at least nine people were hacked to death in an ADF attack in a village 30 km north of Beni in July 2016.[58]

The ADF has been blamed for the Beni massacre.


7 October - ADF fighters ambush a group of state officials near Beni, killing 22.[3]

8 October - The ADF attacks a UN base in Goma, killing two peacekeepers and wounding 12.[3]

8 December - Hundreds of ADF insurgents launch a coordinated attack on a UN base in North Kivu province, killing at least 15 UN peacekeepers and five Congolese soldiers in a protracted, hours-long gun battle before finally withdrawing. 72 insurgents are also killed in the firefight. [12]


15 January - Three Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers were killed while repelling an attack in the eastern Beni region by ADF Ugandan extremist rebels. Five others were wounded.[59][60]

2 February - Three people were killed in an attack by rebels of the ADF who also looted a hospital in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.[61]

3 March - Six people were shot dead and another was stabbed to death in a raid by ADF rebels in the village of Eringeti in Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province.[62]

5-6 March - Twenty people were killed in several attacks by the ADF in the province of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. More than 15 others were reported missing after the attacks and probably kidnapped by the attackers.[63][64]

8 September - Muhammad Kirumira, the former police commissioner for Congo's Buyende District, is gunned down by several assassins. A female friend of Kirumira's is also killed in the attack. In 2019, Congolese authorities link the attack to the ADF and arrest two suspects. A third suspect dies in a shootout with police on September 28.[65]

4 October - ADF militants attacked an army outpost in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo killing at least 6 people.[66]

3 November - Allied Democratic Forces Rebels killed at least 7 people and abducted 15 others including 10 children in raids and attacks in the DRC's North Kivu province.[67]

16 November - An ADF ambush near Beni, DRC, leaves 8 UN peacekeepers and 12 Congolese soldiers dead and 10 peacekeepers wounded. Additionally, one peacekeeper remains missing.[68]

22 November - Unidentified rebels, presumed to be ADF militants, open fire on a UN helicopter near the Ugandan border in eastern DRC. UN forces return fire before retreating back to base. Although the helicopter is damaged, there are no recorded casualties.[69]

27 November - ADF militants launch a nighttime assault on Oicha, DRC, killing six civilians. Congolese soldiers successfully repel the assault, killing one insurgent.[70]

11 December - ADF insurgents bypass Congolese army units and launch a second nighttime attack on Oicha, killing nine civilians and looting several homes.[71]

23 December - ADF forces attack the village of Masiani, just outside Beni, DRC, killing four civilians and a soldier. Three civilians are wounded.[72]

27 December - Protesters in Beni attack a medical holding center for patients infected with the Ebola virus, burning three tents and looting supplies. Congolese authorities blame the ADF.[73]


7 January – ADF insurgents launch an attack on a market in the village of Mavivi, just north of Beni. Eight civilians (five of them children) are killed outright and at least two others later die of their injuries. Dozens of homes and farms are looted.[74]

9 January – ADF insurgents attack a Congolese army outpost in Beni. Three Congolese soldiers and seven civilians are killed in the resulting gun battle. An additional two Congolese soldiers are wounded.[75]

21 January – ADF insurgents attack Congolese soldiers in the village of Mapou, just outside Oicha.[76]

24 January – Three people are killed and two others were wounded in an ambush attack by presumed members of the ADF, in the province of North Kivu, on a highway that led to the city of Beni, four vehicles were left damaged by bullets.[77]

12 February – Congolese soldiers attack an ADF camp in Mamove, about 50 kilometers outside of Beni. Four insurgents are killed in the resulting firefight, and four hostages are rescued. Congolese soldiers also recover medicine that had been previously looted by the ADF.[78]

8 March – A park ranger is shot dead by unknown assailants in Virunga National Park. Congolese authorities blame the ADF for the killing.[79]

19 March – ADF fighters, disguised as security officers, infiltrate and attack Kalau, a majority-Christian village located just outside Beni. The resulting 4-hour assault kills six Christian civilians, including a 9-month-old child, and forces nearly 500 others to flee their homes.[80]

2 April – Ugandan authorities report that the ADF has begun establishing bases in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado Province.

5 April - 35-year-old American tourist Kimberly Sue Endicott and her native guide are kidnapped by a group of armed gunmen in Queen Elizabeth National Park, near the Uganda-DRC border. Endicott and her guide are released two days later after authorities reach a settlement with the kidnappers. Although the assailants have not been identified, it is strongly suspected by both Ugandan authorities and the United States that the ADF is behind the abduction.[81]


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