Over the last two weeks the situation in the Kivu Provinces, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has grown worse. It is not because of the Ebola outbreak that has not been arrested yet but a problem that dates back to the ouster of former President Mobutu Sese Sekou.
That is correct. A militia with long standing ties of activity in the region has continued its ability to raise havoc in the region. This instance the actors are not the remnants of the former military of a Government that was ousted after a Genocide, this group has maintained such a low profile most people have overlooked them as a serious threat to regional stablilty.
The ADF (Allied Democratic Forces), a militia which consists of a core element of hardcorps Ugandan muslim militants and local recruit has been active in the region since 2012. The main reason why the group has been able to maintain such a low profile is due to the MONUCSO focus on other serious threats in the region such as the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) and the Mai Mais and M23 which have been Congelese in Nature and Membership.
Since August, there have been several incidents that have taken place which have been borne the hallmark of an ADF operation. Kidnapping 243 Anglicans and Hospital Staff in August is considered to be one of their highlights of Operations so far this year.
Recently the group struck again and the local population has responded by attacking the UN Peacekeepers. One compond was totally destroyed and the staff had to be rescued by Ukranian Peacekeepers. another incident resulted in the deaths of a couple of citizens attacking the UN Peacekeeping Compound.
There are a couple of chilling thoughts that come to light regarding the situation.
First, why hasn’t MONUCSO taken the ADF seriously during the lifetime of the mission? Only recently the mission has increased its patrols in areas where the ADF is known to Operate. So why did it take this long?
Secondly why hasn’t the Government of Felix Tshishsekedi done more either to ask for help from the UN or take on the threat? This criticism has to be levied against the previous Administration of Joseph Kabila as well.
Third with the way that the ADF operates they have to have a powerful backer in the region? With upcoming Presidential Elections in Uganda coming soon this could be a platform for either President Museveni or the Opposition Candidate.
We have to realize that the ADF is also considered to be part of the reason for the increase in Jihadi attacks in Mozambique as well. There is an entitity that is supporting this group. We need to know this ASAP.