D.R. Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has given a go ahead to the deployment of American anti-terrorism experts to help the Congolese army battle the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed group linked to ISIL (ISIS).
The ADF, which the United States has deemed a “terrorist” group is considered the deadliest of dozens of armed militias that roam eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
According to the Catholic Church in D.R. Congo, the ADF has killed more than 6,000 civilians since 2013, while a respected US-based monitor, the Kivu Security Tracker blames it for more than 1,200 deaths in the Beni area alone since 2017.
The U.S. forces, according to a statement from the presidency, will boost the Congolese army’s fight against ADF in the national parks of Virunga and Garamba. The mission which is scheduled to last several weeks is specifically directed against the armed groups.
U.S. Ambassador Mike Hammer, while presenting the team to President Tshisekedi, said its presence was part of a partnership agreed between the two countries in 2019.
In March, the U.S. State Department condemned the ADF for being notorious across the region for its “brutal violence against Congolese citizens and regional military forces”. The U.S. also sanctioned alleged leader, Seka Musa Baluku and said ISIL had acknowledged the ADF as an affiliate since 2019.
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