A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) Narrative


Allied Democratic Forces (ADF)

Last Update

April 2015

Aliases

Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU)

History

The Allied Democratic Forces, known as Forces Démocratiques Alliées (ADF), formed in 1996 from an alliance of several armed groups, mainly the National Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (Armée Nationale de Libération de l’Ouganda or NALU), opposed to the Ugandan government of President Yoweri Museveni and his marginalization of the Ugandan Muslim community.[1] The group felt it was sidelined by Museveni’s policies, and its leader, Jamil Mukulu, founded ADF for the purpose of establishing an Islamic state in accordance with sharia law in Uganda.[2] However, some scholars argue that the group’s ties to radical Islam are superficial, and this connection is emphasized in the context of larger regional and global conflicts to contain radical Islamist groups.[3] After its founding the group launched a six-year campaign of violence in Uganda, targeting Ugandan villages as well as the capital, until it was driven into eastern DRC by the Ugandan army in 2002.[4] ADF continued to attack Ugandan targets from its bases in eastern DRC.[5]

The Ugandan government has employed several different strategies to weaken ADF, including attempts at negotiation with ADF members, as well as offering to include them in Uganda’s amnesty program.[6] However, these initiatives have mostly failed. Due to ADF’s increased activity in DRC, the Congolese government has become more active in attempting to counter ADF. The government has put in place a disarmament program known as Safisha Ruwenzori, and has also launched military operations, such as Operation Ruwenzori in 2010 aimed at capturing ADF camps and cutting off the group’s supply lines.[7] ADF still remains a security risk for both DR Congo and Uganda, and both countries are actively cooperating with each other, as well as with regional partners, to reduce the threat posed by the group.[8]

Home Base

Western Uganda and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Founding Year

1996[9]

Ideology

  • Religious-Islamist-Tablighi[10]

Specific Goals

  • Establish an Islamic state in Uganda in accordance with Sharia law.[11]

Political Activity

None.

Financing

  • Charities/Donations: Ugandan Muslims (known as Tabliqs) have collected funds on behalf of ADF from foreign Islamic charities and states, especially Sudan.[12]
  • Smuggling/Trafficking: ADF has established a funding network in the Beni and Butembo regions through local population links and cross-border trades of materials between Uganda and DR Congo.[13]
  • State Sponsorship: In the 1990s, ADF received support from the Sudanese and Zairian governments, although these ties have reportedly been severed.[14]
  • Other: Funding is also suspected from sympathetic Hutu groups also located within the DRC.[15]

Leadership and Structure over Time

  • Traditional leadership of ADF includes three main figures: Fenehasi Kisokeranio, Alilabaki Kyagulanyi (Jamil Mukulu), and deputy Yusuf Kabanda (deceased).[16]
    • Other important leaders include Philip Bogere and Rashid Lukwago.[17]
  • 1995-Present: Steven Alirabaki (a.k.a. Alilabaki Kyagulanyi, a.k.a. Jamil Mukulu, a.k.a. David Kyagulanyi, a.k.a. Abdullah Junju, a.k.a. Nicolas Luumu, a.k.a. Hussein Muhammad, a.k.a. Musezi Talengelanimiro, a.k.a. Mzee Tutu) is the founder and primary leader of the ADF. [18]

Strength

Allies and Suspected Allies

  • Sudan
    • The ADF-NALU initially received support from Hassan al-Turabi's government in Sudan.[27]
  • Zaire
    • The ADF-NALU initially received support from Mbuto Sese Seko's government in Zaire.[28]
  • Al-Shabaab (suspected ally):
    • Reports connect ADF with the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab.[29]
    • According to a report released by the UN Group of Experts in 2012, ADF trained individuals in camps and sent them off to Somalia, beginning in November 2011.[30]
    • This report also confirmed that in November 2011, Al-Shabaab agents posted bail for the son of the leader of ADF, Jamil Mukulu.[31]
    • However, the extent of these ties with Al-Shabaab is unclear.[32]
  • Al-Qa’ida (suspected ally):
    • Reports also indicate a potential link between ADF and Al-Qa’ida, as Jamil Mukulu is reported to have been an associate of Osama bin Laden.[33]
  • Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) (suspected ally):
    • LRA has reportedly attempted to create ties of support with the ADF, but the extent of this relationship is uncertain.[34]

Rivals and Enemies

  • Uganda (target):
    • ADF formed as an alliance of groups opposed to the Ugandan government and its alleged marginalization of the Ugandan Muslim community.[35]
    • The primary enemy of ADF continues to be the Ugandan government.[36]

Counterterrorism Efforts

  • International Military:
    • The governments of the DRC and Uganda work closely to counter the security threat posed by ADF, which also includes collaborating with the UN Mission in the Congo (MONUSCO).[37]
    • These efforts include cooperative military operations aimed at cutting off supply lines and recapturing ADF camps.[38]
  • International Law Enforcement:
    • MONUSCO works closely with DRC to improve its security capacity to better protect its borders and ensure internal stability against ADF and other militant groups.[39]
  • Domestic Political:
    • Uganda has also attempted to negotiate with ADF, including incorporation into various disarmament programs, such as amnesty programs.[40]

United States Government Designations

  • Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL), December 29, 2004.[41]
  • Specially Designated National, Office of Foreign Assets Control: Steven Alirabaki (a.k.a. Alilabaki Kyagulanyi, a.k.a. Jamil Mukulu, a.k.a. David Kyagulanyi, a.k.a. Abdullah Junju, a.k.a. Nicolas Luumu, a.k.a. Hussein Muhammad, a.k.a. Musezi Talengelanimiro, a.k.a. Mzee Tutu),[42] October 5, 2011[43]
  • Specially Designated Entity, Office of Foreign Assets Control[44]

Other Governments’ Designations

None.

 

[1] Think Security Africa, “Factsheet on the Alliance of Democratic Forces” (London: Think Security Africa, August 2012), http://thinksecurityafrica.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/ADF.pdf.

[2] Rodney Muhumuza, “Ugandan Rebel Group Is ‘Biggest Threat Since Kony,’” News Portal, Huffington Post, (March 16, 2012), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/16/rebels-regroup-in-uganda_n_1353306.html; IRIN, “Briefing: Armed Groups in Eastern DRC,” Online Magazine, IRINnews, (October 31, 2013), http://www.irinnews.org/report/99037/briefing-armed-groups-in-eastern-drc.

[3] ICG, “Eastern Congo: The ADF-Nalu’s Lost Rebellion,” Africa Briefing, December 19, 2012, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/central-africa/dr-congo/b093-eastern-congo-the-adf-nalus-lost-rebellion.aspx.

[4] Rodney Muhumuza, “Ugandan Rebel Group Is ‘Biggest Threat Since Kony,’” News Portal, Huffington Post, (March 16, 2012), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/16/rebels-regroup-in-uganda_n_1353306.html.

[5] Rodney Muhumuza, “Ugandan Rebel Group Is ‘Biggest Threat Since Kony,’” News Portal, Huffington Post, (March 16, 2012), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/16/rebels-regroup-in-uganda_n_1353306.html.

[6] Think Security Africa, “Factsheet on the Alliance of Democratic Forces” (London: Think Security Africa, August 2012), http://thinksecurityafrica.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/ADF.pdf.

[7] Think Security Africa, “Factsheet on the Alliance of Democratic Forces” (London: Think Security Africa, August 2012), http://thinksecurityafrica.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/ADF.pdf.; ICG, “Eastern Congo: The ADF-Nalu’s Lost Rebellion,” Africa Briefing, December 19, 2012, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/central-africa/dr-congo/b093-eastern-congo-the-adf-nalus-lost-rebellion.aspx.

[8] US Department of State, “Country Reports on Terrorism 2013” (Washington, DC: US Department of State, April 2014), http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/225886.pdf.

[9] Linday Scordie, “Allied Democratic Forces: Moving Beyond popular narratives,” Al Jazeera, July 27, 2013, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/07/201372215812878743.html

[10] Caroline Hellyer, “Uganda’s Heart of Darkness,” Online News, AlJazeera, (December 24, 2013), http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/12/uganda-heart-darkness-2013121781321510330.html.

[11] Caroline Hellyer, “Uganda’s Heart of Darkness,” Online News, AlJazeera, (December 24, 2013), http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/12/uganda-heart-darkness-2013121781321510330.html.

[12] Lindsay Scorgie, “The Allied Democratic Forces: Moving beyond Popular Narratives,” Online News, AlJazeera, (July 27, 2013), http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/07/201372215812878743.html.

[13] ICG, “Eastern Congo: The ADF-Nalu’s Lost Rebellion,” Africa Briefing, December 19, 2012, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/central-africa/dr-congo/b093-eastern-congo-the-adf-nalus-lost-rebellion.aspx.

[14] ICG, “Eastern Congo: The ADF-Nalu’s Lost Rebellion,” Africa Briefing, December 19, 2012, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/central-africa/dr-congo/b093-eastern-congo-the-adf-nalus-lost-rebellion.aspx.

[15] US Department of Homeland Security and US Customs and Border Protection, Office of Border Patrol, “Terrorist Organization Reference Guide” (US Department of Homeland Security, January 2004), https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=444991.

[16] Think Security Africa, “Factsheet on the Alliance of Democratic Forces” (London: Think Security Africa, August 2012), http://thinksecurityafrica.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/ADF.pdf.

[17] Think Security Africa, “Factsheet on the Alliance of Democratic Forces” (London: Think Security Africa, August 2012), http://thinksecurityafrica.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/ADF.pdf.

[18] Think Security Africa, “Factsheet on the Alliance of Democratic Forces” (London: Think Security Africa, August 2012), http://thinksecurityafrica.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/ADF.pdf;US Department of the Treasury, “Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN),” Resource Center, April 23, 2015, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/Pages/default.aspx.

[19] ICG, “Eastern Congo: The ADF-Nalu’s Lost Rebellion,” Africa Briefing, December 19, 2012, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/central-africa/dr-congo/b093-eastern-congo-the-adf-nalus-lost-rebellion.aspx.

[20] “Selected Non-State Armed Groups,” Military Balance 102 (2002): 224-231, doi: 10.1093/milbal/102.1.224

[21] “Selected Non-State Armed Groups,” Military Balance 103 (2003): 344-354, doi: 10.1093/milbal/103.1.344

[22] “Selected Non-State Armed Groups,” Military Balance 104 (2004): 362-377, doi: 10.1080/725292356

[23] “Non-State Armed Groups,” Military Balance 105 (2005): 421-434, doi: 10.1080/04597220500387720

[24] Steven Spittaels and Filip Hilgert, “Mapping Conflict Motives: Eastern DRC,” Fatal Transactions (Antwerp: International Peace Information Service, March 4, 2008), http://www.ipisresearch.be/maps/Oost-Congo/20080506_Mapping_Eastern_DRC.pdf.

[25] Kristof Titeca and Koen Vlassenroot, “Rebels without Borders in the Rwenzori Borderland? A Biography of the Allied Democratic Forces,” Journal of Eastern African Studies 6, no. 1 (April 2012): 154–76, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17531055.2012.664708.

[26] Kenny Katombe and Chrispin Mvano, “Congo Army Attacks Ugandan Islamist Rebels in Lawless East,” Reuters, January 17, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/17/us-congo-democratic-rebels-idUSBREA0G0TF20140117.

[27] Lindsay Scorgie, “The Allied Democratic Forces: Moving beyond Popular Narratives,” Online News, AlJazeera, (July 27, 2013), http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/07/201372215812878743.html; ICG, “Eastern Congo: The ADF-Nalu’s Lost Rebellion,” Africa Briefing, December 19, 2012, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/central-africa/dr-congo/b093-eastern-congo-the-adf-nalus-lost-rebellion.aspx.

[28] ICG, “Eastern Congo: The ADF-Nalu’s Lost Rebellion,” Africa Briefing, December 19, 2012, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/central-africa/dr-congo/b093-eastern-congo-the-adf-nalus-lost-rebellion.aspx.

[29] Rajab Ramah and Deodatus Balile, “Somalia: Authorities On Alert After Al-Shabaab, Ugandan Militants Join Forces,” Sabahi, January 17, 2013, http://allafrica.com/stories/201301180238.html.

[30]Rajab Ramah and Deodatus Balile, “Somalia: Authorities On Alert After Al-Shabaab, Ugandan Militants Join Forces,” Sabahi, January 17, 2013, http://allafrica.com/stories/201301180238.html.

[31] Rajab Ramah and Deodatus Balile, “Somalia: Authorities On Alert After Al-Shabaab, Ugandan Militants Join Forces,” Sabahi, January 17, 2013, http://allafrica.com/stories/201301180238.html.

[32] Kenny Katombe and Chrispin Mvano, “Congo Army Attacks Ugandan Islamist Rebels in Lawless East,” Reuters, January 17, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/17/us-congo-democratic-rebels-idUSBREA0G0TF20140117.

[33] Think Security Africa, “Factsheet on the Alliance of Democratic Forces” (London: Think Security Africa, August 2012), http://thinksecurityafrica.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/ADF.pdf.

[34] Scott A Morgan, “Is the War on Terror Shifting to Africa?,” Sahara Reporters, October 26, 2011, http://saharareporters.com/2011/10/26/war-terror-shifting-africa.; "Uganda: LRA rebels walk out of assembly camps in sourthern Sudan," BBC Monitoring Africa, October 14, 2006.

[35] Kenny Katombe and Chrispin Mvano, “Congo Army Attacks Ugandan Islamist Rebels in Lawless East,” Reuters, January 17, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/17/us-congo-democratic-rebels-idUSBREA0G0TF20140117; Think Security Africa, “Factsheet on the Alliance of Democratic Forces” (London: Think Security Africa, August 2012), http://thinksecurityafrica.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/ADF.pdf.

[36] ICG, “Eastern Congo: The ADF-Nalu’s Lost Rebellion,” Africa Briefing, December 19, 2012, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/central-africa/dr-congo/b093-eastern-congo-the-adf-nalus-lost-rebellion.aspx.

[37] “Chapter 2. Country Reports: Africa Overview,” Country Reports on Terrorism 2013, U.S. Department of State; “Eastern Congo: The ADF-NALU’s Lost Rebellion,” International Crisis Group, 6.

http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/central-africa/dr-congo/b093-eastern-congo-the-adf-nalus-lost-rebellion.aspx

[38] US Department of State, “Country Reports on Terrorism 2013” (Washington, DC: US Department of State, April 2014), http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/225886.pdf;ICG, “Eastern Congo: The ADF-Nalu’s Lost Rebellion,” Africa Briefing, December 19, 2012, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/central-africa/dr-congo/b093-eastern-congo-the-adf-nalus-lost-rebellion.aspx.

[39] US Department of State, “Country Reports on Terrorism 2013” (Washington, DC: US Department of State, April 2014), http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/225886.pdf.

[40] Think Security Africa, “Factsheet on the Alliance of Democratic Forces” (London: Think Security Africa, August 2012), http://thinksecurityafrica.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/ADF.pdf.

[41] US Department of State, “Terrorist Exclusion List” (Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, December 29, 2004), http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123086.htm.

[42] US Department of the Treasury, “Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN),” Resource Center, April 23, 2015, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/Pages/default.aspx.

[43] “US Department of the Treasury, “Designation of Jamil Mukulu Pursuant to Executive Order 13413,” October 5, 2011, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Documents/congo_notice_10052011.pdf.

[44] US Department of the Treasury, “Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN),” Resource Center, April 23, 2015, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/Pages/default.aspx.