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Former DRC President Kabila Denies Museveni ADF Accusations


FILE — Former DRC President Joseph Kabila in attendance of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) head of states emergency summit held in Uganda's capital Kampala September 5, 2013.

KAMPALA — Democratic Republic of Congo’s former president Joseph Kabila Tuesday denied accusations made last week by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni who alleged that the Central African nation’s former leader gave sanctuary to Islamist fighters.

Through a statement released to the media, Kabila denied accusations made by Museveni, arguing that the East African leader looks to divide the DRC.

“The gratuitous false accusations of President Museveni who is one of the main destabilizers in the region are simply ridiculous and aim to distract the Congolese people and divide them,” read Kabila’s statement.

Kabila argued that his administration recognized the Allied Democratic Forces, a former Uganda-based rebel group that pledged allegiance to Islamic State, IS, as a terrorist organization.

The DRC kept the international community, including the United Nations, well informed “on the abuses perpetrated” by the rebel group, he added.

"These international organizations rejected this qualification of the Congolese government of the word 'terrorist.' It is past time that the facts have proven that Joseph Kabila was right and that it was necessary to intervene urgently," read Kabila’s statement.

Kabila’s remarks were in response to a speech delivered last week by Museveni who accused the former leader’s administration of “working with regional and international “actors” to give Islamist fighters “free tenancy in North Kivu and Ituri,” referring to provinces in the DRC.

Museveni said the former DRC leader allowed the ADF to commit a range of violations, among them sell timber, collect taxes and extort money from people.

“They (ADF fighters) were modestly growing and with money,” Museveni said during his speech.

The ADF has been operating in the jungles of the DRC for years, carrying out killings of both civilians and security personnel.

Last month, the rebel group crossed into Uganda, stormed a secondary school and massacred 42 people, mostly students, while others were burned alive.

Museveni said the ADF expanded and set up big camps in eastern DRC during Kabila’s tenure where he led the Central African nation from 2001 to 2019.

In 2021, Uganda, with permission from DRC’s incumbent leader Felix Tshisekedi, launched a military operation with the Congolese army to try to defeat the insurgents.

That operation, Museveni said, had successfully broken up most ADF camps and the rebels had split up into small groups that were hard to detect, occasionally slipping into Uganda to carry out attacks on civilians.

"We quickly degraded their strength and they have now ... fled to beyond our limit of exploitation line," he said.

A United Nations group of experts, however, said last month the ADF was expanding operations in DRC with funding from IS despite the joint operations against them by the combined Ugandan and Congolese militaries.