Congo: The Somalia Connection


: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

August 2, 2010: Material captured in Congolese bases of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan rebel group, indicates the ADF has operational contact with the Somali Al Shabaab Islamic terrorist organization. The ADF is sometimes referred to as the ADF-NALU (Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda). Al Shabaab claimed it launched the terrorist attacks in Kampala, Uganda, earlier this month. The Ugandan government has accused the ADF of having links to Sudan's Islamist regime. These reports have increased since the Congolese Army (FARDC) and UN peacekeepers in the Congo launched a series of attacks in the Ruwenzori Mountains on June 26. The attacks targeted ADF base camps and smuggling routes. In the past the ADF has claimed that it is fighting for the rights of Ugandan Moslems.

July 27, 2010: Approximately 60,000 people have fled the Uganda-Congo border area. The Congolese Army and the UN have been conducting operations against the Ugandan rebel group the ADF in the area. The Congolese Army began to move against the ADF in late June. ADF fighters have been accused of being involved in illegal gold and diamonds trading in eastern Congo.

July 24, 2010: A group of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels attacked an airfield in the Walikale area of North Kivu province (eastern Congo, Rwanda border). This is a tin mining area. The FDLR group reportedly took an Indian pilot hostage after the attack.

July 16, 2010: The U.S. government has passed a series of laws intended to help stop the trading and sale of so-called conflict minerals originating in the eastern Congo. The new legislation is aimed at stopping illegal trading in tin ore (cassiterite), gold, and coltan (columbite-tantalite). Rebel organizations like the FDLR reportedly get 70 to 75 percent of their money from selling illegal minerals. The idea behind the legislation is that if governments can penalize the buyers of conflict minerals then that will put a crimp in the finances of Congolese militias. This is not necessarily so. Some of the groups (like the various Mai-Mai militias in the eastern Congo) do quite well by crime. These outfits steal and extort from Congolese villagers. Several militias also tax (a euphemism) the locals. Laurent Nkunda (the Congolese Tutsi general now in custody in Rwanda) worked this hustle with the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). The tax scheme was little more than extortion and theft. The biggest problem may be Congolese Army units. A couple of Congolese brigades are allegedly involved in trading in conflict minerals, or at least providing protection to dealers and smugglers.

July 15, 2010: There are a large number of refugees in the Ruwenzori Mountains displaced by fighting between the Congolese Army and the ADF. Army units killed 30 ADF fighters and captured nine in various operations, losing six soldiers in the process.

July 14, 2010: Its believed that the ADF has around 800 fighters in the Ruwenzori Mountains.

July 6, 2010: The army has killed 80 rebel fighters who were connected to rebel organizations in Uganda and Rwanda. The rebels were killed in operations that began in June.





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