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07/21/2023 Uganda/DRC (International Christian Concern) – Ugandan and DRC security forces rescued 14 female hostages from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Elements of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) executed the rescue in North Kivu province as part of a joint operation known as “Operation Shujaa” targeting the ADF in Eastern DRC. 

An ADF element responsible for a June 2023 terrorist attack that killed more than 40 civilians in western Uganda was holding the hostages, according to a spokesman from the UPDF. The rescue comes as a prelude to the upcoming bilateral meeting to review the status of the counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign. Ugandan and DRC security forces have been cooperating in “Operation Shujaa” against the ADF since November 2021. 

Conflict in the eastern DRC has been ongoing since the late 1990s, causing approximately 6,000,000 deaths since 1996, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Ethnic armed groups—including the March 23 Movement (M23) and Islamic extremist groups, such as the ISIS-affiliated ADF—have contributed to destabilizing the region. The ADF originated in the mid-1990s as an insurgency with ethnic, political, and Salafi-Jihadist elements in its ideology—operating first in Uganda and then in the DRC, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 

International Christian Concern (ICC) previously reported on the June 2023 terrorist attack in Uganda, which came days after ICC reported on another ADF attack in the DRC that claimed more than 20 casualties.

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