The DRC government has allowed the joint operations between the Ugandan army and FARDC to expand to new areas that will see the two armies go after fleeing ADF fighters.
According to Actu7, a non-aligned online media in DRC, under the new arrangement, the operation will be extended to the territory of Mambasa in Ituri province.
“Joint FARDC-UPDF troops are expected in the western part of the Luna-Komanda road, particularly in the chiefdoms of Babila Bakwanza and Babila Babombi, in Mambasa territory,” Actu 7 reported.
Ryan O’Farrell is a Senior Analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation and a researcher focusing on Islamist movements in east and central Africa welcomed the development that he said will go a long way in decimating ADF .
“This new authorization, likely to be designated Sector 4, would cover most of the ADF’s area of operations that Shujaa has not yet targeted, including the ADF’s headquarters at Butani hill, located 25km west of RN4 near the Ituri river,” O’Farrel said.
President Museveni last week said because of the heavy fire against ADF , the group has now extended further to as far as Mambasa but noted Uganda has mooted a plan to DRC government to have them completely wiped out and areas secured.
He said operation Shuja has combed sector one and two which are areas directly West and North West of Mountain Rwenzori where the ADF used to hide and launch attacks, prompting them to run further.
“We have the capacity to destroy them [ADF rebels] even from long distance. So if the DR Congo government allows us, we can finish them. We have shared with the Congo government our concepts which include the mobile forces, zonal forces and the LDUs, etc,” Museveni said.
The development comes after DRC extended the stay of Uganda inside the country as part of the operation against ADF which started in November, 2021.
Operation Shuja was launched in 2021 as a joint offensive between the UPDF and the Congolese army against the ADF.
In the past two or so years, the operations has seen over 500 ADF fighters killed and many others either captured or surrendered.
A number of ADF captives have also been rescued .
Designated as a terrorist group by the US government, ADF has used the name Madina at Tauheed Wau Mujahedeen (City of Monotheism and Holy Warriors–MTM) to refer to emphasize its links to the Islamic State.
In 2019, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for an ADF attack and first referenced a “Central Africa Province.”
The Islamic State group has in the past claimed that ADF is its Central African offshoot.
The ADF has since been specifically named as Islamic State in DRC to move away from being referred to as the Central Africa Province of ISIS/ ISIL.
The Bridgeway Foundation, a US charity organization recently indicated that Operation Shuja has dealt a heavy blow on ADF inside DRC.
For example, the organization noted that over 358 members of ADF who have left the group due to the pressure from the Ugandan army.
Recently, the UPDF displayed a cache of weapons and ammunition which was seized from the Allied Democratic Forces(ADF) rebel and extremist group in the Democratic Republic of Congo( DRC).
The cache of 151 weapons also included bullets and various types of guns, including 142 submachine guns(SMG), eight pieces of PMK Machine guns, one 60 millimeters mortar, 111 military, 45 radio charger ports and 10 batteries has been seized in the past one year or so during the joint operation with the DRC army, FARDC since November 2021.