Amid Surge in Violence in Congo, UN Experts See No ISIS Link

There is no proof Islamic State is behind a surge in “intense violence” in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo despite the group’s claims it supported nearly fifty attacks in the region this year, United Nations experts said in a report published Thursday.

The experts found no direct link between ISIS and Islamist rebels known as the Allied Democratic Forces, whose attacks have contributed to the displacement of millions of people in eastern Congo since 2014. ISIS-linked media routinely claim responsibility for ADF violence.

The UN researchers continue to investigate possible connections between the groups, “particularly in light of the information contained in a few claims which accurately matches details of attacks as well as the accompanying photographs of some of the attacks,” the report said.

The ADF has increasingly used improvised explosive devices in attacks against civilians and Congo’s army, which have killed more than 370 rebels since launching an offensive against the group in October 2019, according to the report.

The rebels have also become active in cocoa smuggling from Congo into neighboring Uganda, the report said. Congo officially produced about 27,000 tons of cocoa last year, according to central bank statistics.

Violence has plagued resource-rich eastern Congo for more than two decades. The report also documented rampant smuggling of gold, tin ore and coltan by rebel groups and members of the Congolese army.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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