The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) is an insurgent group with Ugandan links currently operating in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). While the ADF’s ideology is historically entrenched in certain Salafi-jihadist beliefs, it has deepened into political and economic factors, particularly in the Rwenzori border region between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This article aims to highlight the impacts of the aforementioned armed group in the eastern part of the country in particular North Kivu and Ituri province being a hotspot of attacks with more than 1,500 fatalities and 750 abductions counts from May 2021- to April 2022.
The Congolese army and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) agreed on a framework for joint operations with an agreement document, named “Guidelines for Joint Operations’‘, signed at the Congolese army headquarters. The clause stated the engagement of MONUSCO will only take place in cases of reinforcement, logistics, and protection of civilians in the vicinity, unfortunately, the operation ended with several protest actions from locals highlighting their inefficiency and ineffectiveness causing them to drawdown.
The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and the Ugandan military (UPDF) launched joint operations in the Beni territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) against the prominent rebel group but attacks have persisted, amidst further talks on additional extensions of the state of siege.
The following effects have been highlighted over time: Displacement remains the first repercussion as more than 100,000 locals have been provided with emergency shelters in 2021 but the assistance has become insufficient as these attacks by armed groups have continued to displace people in the provinces. These incidents have caused the affected populace to flee multiple times. Amongst the affected percentages lie women and children in need of assistance. In North Kivu and Ituri provinces, attacks, abuses and violations against civilians by armed groups and government forces increased by 10% between May and November of 2021 according to the United Nations.
There were multiple abductions and 300,000 people which caused social-economic paralysis. Due to this, an economic dwindle has been observed, dragging the Eastern part of the country into a wind of recession. The frequent use of arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions also persisted throughout the east as the state of siege gave excess powers to security forces thus tampering with the military justice system. Over the reporting period, security forces have arrested and detained hundreds of civilians without due process, many for non-criminal acts such as debt or land disputes.
In February, three activists from the citizens’ movement were arrested in North Kivu for organizing a peaceful sit-in to protest against alleged illegal taxes on roads and alleged mismanagement of a local healthcare administration. These amongst others have persisted throughout the provinces. With all the above in continuity, peace doesn’t seem near.