The Uganda people defense forces (UPDF) together with the DRC Army under the recently launched second phase of operation shuja have killed 16 Allied Democratic Forces rebels and rescued over 12 children who were kidnapped by the group.
This has been confirmed by the UPDF Commander of Land Forces, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba saying the rebels were killed at the south of Busunga/Nobili border point.
“Last night we killed 16 ADF terrorists, South of Busunga/Nobili border point. We also rescued more than 12 children who were enslaved by ADF,” Lt Gen Muhoozi said in a tweet.
The development is yet another success of Operation Shuja, a Kiswahili word for bravery launched in November between the Congolese army, FADRC and the UPDF targeting the ADF in the thick DRC forests.
Lt Gen Muhoozi recently said in a tweet that over 1000 ADF “terrorists” had been killed since the launch of the operation in November.
The Commander of Land Forces in the UPDF however said as part of the operation, the joint forces are now targeting top ADF commanders.
“In our next phase, we are going to target all ADF commanders! Your women better stay away from you! But we shall kill them if they are anywhere near you criminals,” he said.
On November 18, the UPDF launched Operation Shuja with artillery strikes against ADF hideouts in the thick DRC forests.
The UPDF using Nobili -Kamango- Mukakati route opened the first offensive route against the rebel group which saw the assault force advance deep into Virunga impenetrable forest dislodging ADF terrorists in several camps including their stronghold of Kambi Ya Yua where various military attire and documents were recovered.
A second route from Kasindi to Beni, Nobili-R. Semliki Bridge was opened before the third one from Burasi to Boga where the ADF airfield was seized by the UPDF.
The ADF has for several years operated in the volatile North Kivu which borders other provinces including Ituri to the north and South Kivu to the South and has been a battleground for a number of rival armed ethnic groups since 1998.
The province consists of three cities including; Goma, Butembo and Beni as well as six territories—Beni, Lubero, Masisi, Rutshuru.
According to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, the ADF which was designated as a terrorist group by the US government 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 organization is led by Musa Baluku, who served as a senior ADF Islamic legal official before consolidating power following Mukulu’s 2015 arrest.
The group has been blamed for last year’s bomb attacks in Kampala which killed over seven people.
Following the launch of an operation against the group in the thick DRC forests by a joint force of the UPDF and FADRC, the ADF rebels have been said to have fled their hideouts and are roaming in the thick jungles afterlife was made difficult for them.
Consequently, the group carries out attacks on several villages and towns where they know the joint forces are not present and loot food and animals.