Could ISIS be forming a New Cell in Central Africa?

By  Scott A. Morgan

    Within the last couple of weeks there have been a couple of stories that have raised the interest of CT Analysts regarding the situation in Central Africa.

    In late January, Rwandan Authorities acting on a tip raided a mosque in Kigali. The raid yielded some interesting news. First the Deputy Imam was actually shot and killed by Security Forces; then a Treasure Trove of Data including extremist literature, CDs, messages left from Social Media Platforms and a trail to other Jihadists - some of them were actually able to flee the Country. This may show just how poor security is in the region.

Image Courtesy of the Clarion Project

    Also in the same time frame, an incident occurred within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Units of FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) fired upon peacekeepers from Tanzania at the behest of local inhabitants. In the past, UN Reports have been critical of Tanzanian support for the FDLR. The point of divergence this time is that the Tanzanians were accused of supporting Islamist Fighters in the DRC.

    When one thinks of issues regarding the DRC one automatically focuses on the restless and mineral rich Eastern Provinces of the Country (Nord Kivu, Sud Kivu and Ituri), where the Second Congolese Civil War was mostly contested. This itself was a result of the Rwandan Genocide that occurred in 1994 and led to the Government that was in Power, in Kigali, being driven from the Country. However the region has been the Area of Operation for an Islamist Group that has not received any major notice.

    The ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) is a mainly Ugandan Militia that also operates in the Eastern DRC. They have not launched any attacks that have generated any interest in the West like the FDLR or even the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army). It has also been accused of receiving aid from the Sudanese Government. The Group also assisted Al-Shabaab in their Kampala attacks during the 2010 World Cup also. The UN Mission has been keeping tabs on this group and others in the region. This suggests that Intelligence Gathering in the DRC is an issue for UN Peacekeepers.

    The question of "why now?" may be an easy answer: towards the end of the month Elections for both President and Parliament are scheduled to be run. Elections are scheduled to occur in the DRC later this year as well. The situation in Burundi is so chaotic that an outside force can and probably will be exploited. So with reports of Rwandan recruiting Burundians to go back and act as insurgents reaching the west, why isn’t the possibility of Islamists trying to do the same generating the same interest?

    Ethnically, the Populations of both Rwanda and Burundi are broken down into similar proportions. The same is true when it comes to Religion (Both Countries are between 2 and 5% of Muslim population). So at the very least we have to assume that ISIS is on the road to creating another Cell in Africa. The Rwandans may have lucked into finding it as well - the West and other Governments have their heads in the sands as usual….. Meanwhile ISIS is growing, plotting to expand their Operations and biding their time.

(Image: Boko Haram pledging allegiance to ISIS -

[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]


  1. The west makes the same mistake over and over again when it only pays attention when the crap hits the fan. The ADF should've been cut from its root, instead the west was busy criticizing Uganda's president. I start believing the wackos when they say the west has an interest in all these events.

  2. With Al Shabaab, Boko Haram, AQIM and others in Africa it was only a matter of time till ISIS would settle there too.

  3. IS is establishing itself in Libya and has links to BH, Al Shabaab and AQIM. In essence it is already in Africa.

  4. Hi Morgan,

    I agree with Kmaster, ISIS is already in Africa and it has been for quite a while (specially ever since BH pledged allegiance to ISIS). Nevertheless, we need to look at the ADF since it may become a huge problem: give support to other Jihadist groups in the region, carry out orders from ISIS, recruit more fighters the whole lot...
    Thanks for a superb post.



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