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Allied Democratic Forces insurgency

ADF insurgency

A FIB soldier during an operation against the ADF in Beni.
Date 1995 – present[1]
Location  Uganda
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
Result Ongoing

 Democratic Republic of the Congo
United Nations Force Intervention Brigade

Supported by:

Allied Democratic Forces
National Army for the Liberation of Uganda

Supported by:
Lord's Resistance Army[3]

Commanders and leaders
Yoweri Museveni
Joseph Kabila
James Aloisi Mwakibolwa
Jamil Mukulu  (WIA)
Hood Lukwago
Yusuf Kabanda  
Ashraf Lukwago
Frank Kithasamba[1][5]
40,000 UPDF
150,000 FARDC
3,000 UNFIB[6]
800 - 1,400 ADF and NALU[1][6]
Casualties and losses
Unknown 80+ killed
314+ captured[2]
1,265+ civilians killed
150,000+ displaced[4]

ADF insurgency refers to the ongoing rebellion of the Allied Democratic Forces in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo directed against the governments of the two countries. The insurgency began in 1995, intensifying in 2013, resulting in hundreds of deaths.


  • Background 1
  • Timeline 2
    • 1996 2.1
    • 1998 2.2
    • 1999 2.3
    • 2007 to 2008 2.4
    • 2012 2.5
    • 2013 2.6
    • 2014 2.7
    • 2015 2.8
  • References 3


The ADF was formed by Jamil Mukulu an ultra conservative, Ugandan Muslim, belonging to the Tablighi Jamaat sect. 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 1990's 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, during the years following the fall of Rowezori mountains, located in the DRC-Uganda border areas. The insurgence remained unaffected by government amnesty and talk efforts, as members married local women.[7]

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 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][8][9]



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.[10][11]


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.[12]

On 8 June 1998, ADF rebels killed 80 students of the Kichwamba Technical College in the Kabarole, Uganda.80 students were abducted in the same raid.[12]

In June 1998, ADF rebels abducted over l00 school children from a school in Hoima, Uganda.[12]

In August 1998, 30 people were killed in three separate bus bombings, perpetrated by ADF.[12]


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

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

2007 to 2008

A joint MONUSCO-FARDC patrol during an anti ADF operation.

During March 2007, the UPDF engaged incursive 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.[13]

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

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.[17]

In April 2013, it was reported that ADF started a recruitment campaign in Kampala and other parts of the country.[9] Citing a defector from ADF, "allAfrica" reported that some 10 new recruits joined ADF forces every day.[9]

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.[18] 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.[19]

Early in September 2013, regional leaders under the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) asked the recently formed combative MONUSCO to attack positions of foreign negative forces operating in DRC, including the ADF.[20]

On 23 September 2013, 3 people were killed during an ADF attack in the Watalinga Sector, North Kivu, DRC.[20]

On 27 September 2013, ADF militants killed 5 and abducted 30 people, after an attack on a health center in the city of Maleki, DRC.[21]

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.[22]

In the period between November 2012 and November 2013, ADF carried out 300 kidnappings.[23]

On 14 December 2013, 13 people were killed, in the aftermath of an ADF attack on the Musuku village, Uganda.[24]

On 15 December 2013, ADF killed 8 people in the Biangolo village, Uganda.[24]

On 25 December 2013, ADF rebels attacked the city of Kamango, DRC.In the aftermath of the attack, over 50 civilians were killed and many buildings were burnt down.The city was retaken by the Congolese army the following day.[25]

On 29 December 2013, ADF rebels launched another attack on the city of Kamango.The ADF militants beheaded 21 civilian and urged the residents of the city to flee to Uganda.[25]


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.[25]

On 17 February 2014, a Congolese army spokesman announced that the military had killed 230 ADF rebels in the aftermath of a month long offensive, 23 FARDC soldiers were also killed in the operation.[26]

Between 5–8 October 2014, ADF militants killed 15 people, within the North Kivu province, DRC.[27]

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

On 18 October 2014, ADF insurgents killed over 20 people, in an attack on the village of Byalos, DRC.[27]

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.[28]

On 20 November 2014, rebels disguised as Congolese soldiers killed between 50 and 80 people near Beni.[29]

On 8 December 2014, militants hacked to death 36 civilians in the vicinity of Beni.[30]

On 26 December 2014, an ADF attack resulted in the deaths of 11 people, in the village of Ndumi, Ituri.[31]


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.[32]

On 5 February 2015, ADF carried out a night raid on the city of Beni hacking to death 23 people and injuring one.[33]

On 9 March 2015, ADF rebels killed one and injured two civilians in the area of the Semliki bridge, North Kivu.[34]

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.[35]

On 23 April 2015, ADF rebels massacred five civilians in the village of Kalongo, 6 km northwest of Oïcha.[36]

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.[37]


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