UN Experts: ADF rebels receiving financial support from Islamic State group
UN experts have established that the Allied Democratic Forces operating in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo and accused of a recent attack in western Uganda’s Lhubiriha secondary school were receiving financial support from the Islamic State (ISIS) group and were planning to expand their area of influence, according to a report seen by AFP on Monday.
Accused of killing thousands of civilians, the ADF is one of the many armed groups scouring the eastern DRC. They were originally Ugandan rebels who have been operating in the DRC since the 1990s. The fighters pledged allegiance in 2019 to the Islamic State, which presents them as its “central African province” (ISCAP) and claims responsibility for some of their actions.
But their funding by the Islamic State wasn’t earlier documented.
In a report due to be published this week, the UN panel of experts on the DRC highlights the hazy financial transactions between the two groups.
The group blamed in the Uganda attack were funded by the ISIS since at least 2019, through a complex scheme involving individuals in different African nations, emanating from Somalia and going through Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, the report reveals. Documents and testimonies were quoted as evidence.
In an effort to expand their area of influence beyond the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu, the ADF have sent fighters and/or collaborators on reconnaissance missions, the experts said.
Although the DRC and Uganda launched a joint operation in 2021 to drive the rebels out of their Congolese strongholds, they have so far been unable to bring an end to the group’s attacks.
Ugandan officials have accused the group of a violent attack on Friday on a school located under 2 km from the border with the DRC. While the death toll from the incident has surpassed 41, several students, mostly girls, were abducted by the rebels. A dormitory at the school was allegedly torched, with a food store potentially also looted during the attack.