Uganda rebels ready to strike - officials

2012-03-17 13:27

Kampala - A rebel group that once terrorised parts of Uganda is regrouping in eastern Congo and could launch attacks on Ugandan territory, officials warned.

The Allied Democratic Forces, which has emerged as the biggest threat to Uganda's security in the years since the Lord's Resistance Army was ousted from Uganda, has opened three military camps in eastern Congo and is actively recruiting in central Uganda, the officials said this week.

"The ADF is for real," said Colonel Felix Kulayigye, spokesperson for the Ugandan army. "If they have begun military drills, what is the motive? They are not there for tourism."

The rebel group was formed in the early 1990s by Ugandan Muslims who said they had been sidelined by the policies of President Yoweri Museveni, who has led Uganda since 1986. The group wants Uganda to be ruled according to Sharia law.

The Allied Democratic Forces staged deadly attacks in Ugandan villages as well as in the capital in the late 1990s, including a horrific 1998 incident in which 80 students were massacred in a frontier town.


"ADF has over the years used the Congo as a base to attack Uganda," said Fred Opolot, a government spokesperson. "Therefore it is in our interest to enter the Congo to pursue negative forces. This will need close co-operation with the Congolese government, and we are trying to find ways of negotiating with them."

Ugandan officials have been warning about the ADF's resurgence for several months, but they now believe the rebel group exploited turmoil in eastern Congo before and after the November presidential elections to ramp up its activities. They do not know how many rebels are in the bush.

Kulayigye said the group now has camps in Mwalika and Bubuchwanga, villages where the rebels are able to conduct military drills and to recruit without the interference of the Congolese national army.

The Congolese government has no control of vast territories in the eastern part of the country, where rebel militias including Joseph Kony's brutal LRA have been able to roam free for years.

But with the LRA weakened and it fighters scattered across Central Africa, the Ugandan army has been paying serious attention to the ADF because they believe the group is actively recruiting among Muslim families in Uganda. The force is led by a convert to Islam named Jamil Mukulu.

"There are reports of people just disappearing from their homes," Kulayigye said.

Analysts say the rebel group is more likely to stage a terrorist strike than wage a conventional war.


"They may be able to carry out a hit-and-run thing," said Philip Kasaija, a professor of international law at Makerere University, in Kampala, who has researched military conflicts in the region.

"The ADF has always had the ability to strike," said Angelo Izama, a risk analyst with Fanaka Kwawote, a think tank on regional security based in Kampala.

"As seen from their grenade attacks or the World Cup hit, and knowing the porousness of the security net, this is possible. I am less inclined to believe a conventional attack is possible."

In July 2010, during the World Cup final, the Somali militant group al-Shabab exploded bombs that killed more than 70 people in Kampala. The attacks were actually carried out by al-Shabaab's Ugandan base, and one of the convicts in that attack is a former ADF combatant who had won government amnesty.

Uganda has long considered the Congo a weak link in the regional fight against rebel groups opposed to the government. This week officials renewed their criticism of Kinshasa in the wake of a wildly successful online campaign to make the elusive Kony famous. Congolese officials are not doing enough to stop the LRA, they said.

"The Congolese should do their part," Kulayigye said. "We are not dying to go to the Congo."


Read more on:    uganda  |  east africa  |  security

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300

Keep it together Text. Email. Social. With all the different ways to...

From R1399.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.