Islamic State (ISIS), the world’s most feared terrorist and jihadist group, which wreaked havoc in Libya, Iraq and Syria, has recognized ties with the Ugandan affiliated rebel group the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Chimp Corps report.
ADF, a fundamentalist Islamic movement which operates from the Eastern boarder of Democratic Republic of Congo, has been blamed for a serious of killings of innocent civilians and sustaining armed attacks on military bases run by United Nations and Congolese forces.
The new ties between the two militant groups were evident in a video released by ISIS leader Bakr al-Baghdhadi on Monday, March, 29.
Al- Baghdhadi, who mounted a pulpit of a mosque in Mosul, Iraq, in June 2014 to announce his new caliphate, was making his first appearance after five years.
In the video, the ISIS leader was seen receiving documents about some global affiliates including one entitled “Wilayat Central Africa” which is said to be the major command cell of ISIS in central and East Africa.
Experts said that recent attacks including the one in which Tanzanian UN peacekeepers were killed, ADF dedicated the killings to ISIS Wilayat Central Africa and also pledged allegiance.
ADF has since undergone a new radicalisation process “with a shift in the rhetoric employed by the movement from a war against the Uganda government to a broader struggle for Islam.”
Part of the shift, according to experts, include adopting the name “Madina at Tauheed Wau Mujahedeen” as well as a flag incorporating elements used by many jihadist groups including ISIS.
As IS flag was recently recovered from a body of ADF fighter killed in military operations against the movement in DRC.
The rebranding of ADF seems to have succeeded as Baghdhadi confirmed its inclusion in the ISIS arm in Central Africa Republic.
The Defence Post reported that a Central African province was previously mentioned by Baghdadi in an August 2018 speech, meaning ISCAP had existed for almost a year before ISIS first publicly attributed an attack to the wilayat.
The Ugandan government is yet to speak out on the growing ISIS threat.
But Defence Spokesperson Brigadier Richard Karemire recently told ChimpReports that UPDF remained vigilant along the border to counter any external threats.
The Israel’s head of International Defence Cooperation-Directorate, Brig Gen (RET) Mishel Ben Baruch met with Uganda’s Defence Minister and Chief of Defence Forces on jointly combating terrorism in the two countries’ defence cooperation.
The Israel army officer and Uganda’s top military brass discussed possible areas of mutual cooperation such as collaboration in the fight against terrorism and further professionalization of the UPDF.
Karemire said Israel Defence Forces are “famous for their expertise in building capacity for partners and therefore offered to support UPDF in that regard.”
Last year, Uganda’s Internal Security Organisation (ISO) through its Director General Kaka Bagyenda said that ISIS had collaborated with ADF in several attacks.
ISIS remains a global terror threat, having taken responsibility for bombings across the world, the recent being Sri Lanka in which almost 300 people were killed.
ISIS recently claimed responsibility for an attack in which several Congolese soldiers were killed in Kamago, an operations base of ADF located near the border with Uganda.
“Soldiers of the Caliphate have attacked an army base in Bovata around 5km from Kamango, killing 3 Congolese soldiers and wounding five,” reads part of the statement released on one of ISIS media outlets following the attack.
The attack was further attributed to Wilayat Central Africa which was also mentioned by Baghdhadi in the Monday video.
The IS media outlet also published the first known image of its militants in DRC.
Around 15 gun-wielding militants are present in the picture, standing in a circle with their hands together in the center.
This pose appears similar to one often made by militants when pledging allegiance to Baghdadi, for example the recently published pledge by Sri Lankan suicide bombers and one from Saudi Arabia.
The militants are armed with a variety of weapons identified including FN MAG and Type 80 general purpose machine guns, and Type 3 AK-47 and AKM assault rifles.
A PG-7V warhead which appears to have a hole in it can also be seen. Tents and buildings in the background suggest the picture could have been taken at the edge of the militant’s camp.
It is said much of ISIS’s expansion around the world has come from working with local militant groups, which establish ties with ISIS and pledge allegiance to Baghdadi, become an ISIS affiliate, and some later become official provinces.