Allied Democratic Forces insurgency

Allied Democratic Forces insurgency

A UNFIB soldier during an operation against the ADF in Beni.
Date1995 – present[1] (21 years)
LocationUganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Status Ongoing

 DR Congo
United Nations MONUSCO

Supported by:

 United States[2]


Supported by:

Commanders and leaders

Uganda Yoweri Museveni
Democratic Republic of the Congo Joseph Kabila

United Nations James Aloizi Mwakibolwa

Jamil Mukulu  (POW)
Hood Lukwago
Yusuf Kabanda  
Ashraf Lukwago

Frank Kithasamba[1][5]

40,000 UPDF
150,000 FARDC

3,000 UNFIB[6]
Casualties and losses

UgandaDemocratic Republic of the Congo Unknown

Malawi 1 soldier killed[7]
80+ killed
314+ captured[2]
1,265+ civilians killed
150,000+ displaced[4]

The Allied Democratic Forces insurgency refers to the 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 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.[1]

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 Rowezori mountains, located in the DRC-Uganda border areas. The insurgence remained unaffected by government amnesty and talk efforts, as members married local women.[8]

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.[1][3]

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.[1][9][10]



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. 25000 people fled the towns, before they were recaptured by Ugandan troops.[11][12]


On 20 February 1998, ADF abducted 30 children, in the aftermath of an attack on a Seventh-Day Adventist College in Mitandi, Kasese district.[4]

On 4 April 1998, 5 people were killed and at least 6 were wounded, when bombs exploded at two restaurants in Kampala.[13]

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.[13]

In June 1998, ADF rebels abducted over l00 school children from a school in Hoima, Uganda.[13]

In August 1998, 30 people were killed in three separate bus bombings, perpetrated by ADF.[13]


Between 10 April 1999 - 30 May 1999 ADF carried out seven attacks, resulting in 11 dead and 42 wounded.[4]

On 9 December 1999, ADF attacked the Katojo prison facility, releasing 360 prisoners held for terrorism.[4]

2007 to 2008

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.[3]

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.[14]

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.[15] Non-combatant dependents of the ADF were repatriated to Uganda by the IOM. At least 48 ADF fighters surrendered and were given amnesty.[16] 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.[17]

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


Between February–March 2012, over 60 ADF insurgents were arrested within Uganda.[2]


On 24 January 2013, insurgents tortured and later executed 13 people who were previously abducted from the city of Oicha, North Kivu.[18]

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

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.[19] 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.[20]

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.[21]

On 23 September 2013, 3 people were killed during an ADF attack in the Watalinga Sector, North Kivu, DRC.[21]

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.[22]

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.[23]

In the period between November 2012 and November 2013, ADF carried out 300 kidnappings.[24]

On 14 December 2013, 13 people were killed, in the aftermath of an ADF attack on the Musuku village, Uganda.[25]

On 15 December 2013, ADF killed eight people in the Biangolo village, Uganda.[25]

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.[26]

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.[26]


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.[26]

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.[27]

On 23 March 2014, South African helicopters struck ADF forces for the first time, in support of Operation Sukola 1.[28]

Between 5–8 October 2014, ADF militants killed 15 people, within the North Kivu province, DRC.[29]

On 15 October 2014, ADF rebels killed 27 people in an attack on villages, located outside Beni.[29]

On 18 October 2014, ADF insurgents killed over 20 people, in an attack on the village of Byalos, DRC.[29]

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.[30]

On 20 November 2014, rebels disguised as Congolese soldiers killed between 50 and 80 people near Beni.[31]

On 8 December 2014, militants hacked to death 36 civilians in the vicinity of Beni.[32]

On 26 December 2014, an ADF attack resulted in the deaths of 11 people, in the village of Ndumi, Ituri.[33]


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.[34]

On 5 February 2015, ADF carried out a night raid on the city of Beni hacking to death 23 people and injuring one.[35]

On 9 March 2015, ADF rebels killed one and injured two civilians in the area of the Semliki bridge, North Kivu.[36]

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.[37]

On 23 April 2015, ADF rebels massacred five civilians in the village of Kalongo, 6 km northwest of Oïcha.[38]

On 30 April 2015, the Ugandan media reported that the ADF's leader, Jamil Mukulu, had been arrested in Tanzania.[39]

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.[40]

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.[41]


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.[42]

According to the Congolese military, at least nine people were hacked to death in an ADF attack in a village 30km north of Beni in July 2016.[43]

The ADF has been blamed for the Beni massacre.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "The Rise of ADF-NALU in Central Africa and Its Connections with al-Shabaab". Jamestown Foundation. 9 January 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 "Security Crisis As Uganda Faces ADF Insurgency". 18 March 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 Wikileaks Cable: Government Demands Action Against Ugandan Rebels In Congo. Embassy Kampala (Uganda): Wikileaks. 2007-04-03. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "ADF-NALU's Lost Rebellion" (PDF). 19 December 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 November 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  5. "Army denies death of ADF commander". 29 July 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  6. 1 2 "Congo army attacks Ugandan Islamist rebels in lawless east". 17 January 2014. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  7. Malawian soldier killed and another wounded in latest DRC rebel attack
  8. "Uganda's heart of darkness". Al Jazeera. 24 December 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  9. "UGANDA: IRIN Special Report on the ADF rebellion". 8 December 1999. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  10. 1 2 3 Candia, Steven (2013-04-11). "Uganda: Allied Democratic Forces Recruiting in Kampala, Says Defector (Page 1 of 2)". Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  11. "Mpondwe struggles to recover after insurgency". 20 February 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  12. "Zairean Troops Attack Uganda". 14 November 1996. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  13. 1 2 3 4 "Allied Democratic Forces". Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  14. Wikileaks Cable: Uganda: Adf Clash With Updf Near Tourist Lodge. Embassy Kampala (Uganda): Wikileaks. 2007-04-17. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
  15. Wikileaks Cable: Nugandan Government Negotiations With Allied Democratic Forces. Embassy Kampala (Uganda): Wikileaks. 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
  16. Wikileaks Cable: Uganda: 2009 Country Reports On Terrorism. Embassy Kampala (Uganda): Wikileaks. 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
  17. Wikileaks Cable: Uganda: Dagne Staffdel Meetings With Mfa And Defense Ministry. Embassy Kampala (Uganda): Wikileaks. 2009-11-17. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
  18. "Nord-Kivu: la société civile accuse les ADF-Nalu de l'exécution de 13 civils à Oïcha". Radio Okapi. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  19. Kambale, Juakali (2 July 2013). "16 killed in clash between DRC army and Ugandan militias". Africa Review. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  20. "Rebels Drive More Than 60,000 From Congo to Uganda". New York Times. AP. 14 July 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  21. 1 2 newvision (2013-09-26). "ADF kill three in DR Congo". Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  22. "5 Dead In ADF Raid On DRC Health Facility". 1 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  23. "Nord-Kivu: les rebelles de l'ADF-Nalu enlèvent 26 personnes à Upira". Radio Okapi. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  24. "U.N. task force looking into one of next Congo targets: Islamist ADF". Reuters. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  25. 1 2 "ADF Kills 20, Most Victims Women And Girls". 16 December 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  26. 1 2 3 "ADF Forces Take Charge in Eastern DRC". 28 March 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  27. "Congo Military Says It Killed 230 Ugandan Rebels". New York Times. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  28. SA attack helicopters in renewed action in the DRC
  29. 1 2 3 "Rebels kill more than 20 people in east Congo village". Reuters. 18 October 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  30. "Congo crowd kills man, eats him after militant massacres: witnesses". 31 October 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  31. "Up to 80 people killed by suspected Ugandan rebels in Congo: group". Reuters. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  32. "Ugandan rebels wielding machetes kill 36 people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo". Reuters. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  33. "Ituri : 11 personnes tuées par des présumés ADF à Ndume". Radio Okapi. 27 December 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  34. "Nord-Kivu: les FARDC et la Monusco délogent les ADF de Mavume". Radio Okapi. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  35. "Machete attack kills 23 in DR Congo". Business Recorder. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  36. "Début de l'opération militaire contre les ADF à la frontière entre le Nord-Kivu et la Province Orientale". Radio Okapi. 9 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  37. "Beni: 18 morts, bilan revu à la hausse de l'attaque attribuée aux ADF". Radio Okapi. 16 April 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  38. "Beni : 5 personnes tuées par machettes par des ADF". Radio Okapi. 23 April 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  39. "Fugitive Ugandan Islamist rebel leader held: report". AFP. 30 April 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  40. "Nord-Kivu: nouveau massacre à Beni, 7 morts". Radio Okapi. 9 May 2015. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  41. SA troops battle armed-group in DRC, retake base
  42. "Suspected rebels hack nine people to death in northeast Congo: army". Reuters. 2016-07-05. Retrieved 2016-07-05.
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