DRC rebels have terrorist undertones

2015-07-01 23:20

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Kinshasa - Ugandan rebels blamed for slaughtering hundreds in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have a "terrorist aspect" which could draw them closer to African jihadist movements, a UN military leader said on Wednesday.

The insurgency by the mainly Muslim rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) has a "terrorist aspect that must be taken extremely seriously," said General Jean Baillaud, deputy commander of Monusco, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in DR Congo.

The rebels are accused of murdering - primarily with machetes and farming tools - over 400 people in nine months of massacres in and around the major eastern trading hub of Beni.

"What worries us... is that this group could possibly transform into an even more serious threat of the type we have seen in other parts of African," said Baillaud, evoking the jihadists active on the continent.

He added that Monusco and the DR Congo authorities are totally committed to squelching the insurgents.

The ADF rebels launched an insurgency in neighbouring Uganda against President Yoweri Museveni in the mid-1990s and later established bases on the Congolese side of the border.

Starting the mid-2000s the rebels began striking at the army and civilians, prompting authorities to try to run them out of DR Congo.

An expert on DR Congo's armed groups, speaking on condition of anonymity, called ADF rebels "terrorists".

"Clearly they are terrorists, but to make the jump from there to jihadism is a line they must not cross," the source said.

The expert added Ugandan intelligence services were actively hunting for links between the group and jihadists movements but no "credible" tie has been uncovered.

Read more on:    monusco  |  adf  |  yoweri museveni  |  drc  |  central africa

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