Non-State Actors

Terrorism in Africa III: A Match Made in Hell ADF & LRA

May 28, 2020

Jesutimilehin Akamo

Key Judgements

KJ-1. A quasi-state carved out of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan and Uganda is likely if the LRA and ADF form an alliance.


KJ-2. It is highly likely that the capabilities of LRA and ADF will increase if cooperation among DRC, CAR, South Sudan and Uganda remain deficient.


KJ-3. There is a realistic probability that the LRA and ADF will clash based on religious backgrounds or resources



The alliance between the ADF and LRA is dangerous for the region considering geographical factors. The ADF and LRA operate in more than one country, and these countries share physical boundaries. The existing relationship between the governments of these countries is not healthy for cooperation in turn affecting the success of foreign interventions. There are also speculations that the ADF may have a link with the government in DRC. This adds to Uganda’s lack of trust in DRC.


A detail that must not be ignored is weak governance of the countries involved, although Uganda may be an exception. South Sudan is still struggling with a lot of issues internally and with Sudan. CAR is suffering from the serious insurgency. Félix Tshisekedi’s authority is weak in the northern part of DRC. Uganda may seem settled, but there are a lot of doubts about its military capabilities because of its inability to capture the leader of LRA, Joseph Kony, despite intel on his locations. Overall, the political will to curb the LRA and ADF seem lacking, and the territory of the concerned countries is under threat. Therefore, the prospects for both LRA and ADF pose serious challenges to DRC, CAR, South Sudan, and Uganda, and vice versa. 


If they form an alliance, they will share resources and capabilities; hence, it is almost certain that they will become more lethal. It is also likely to seek territorial expansion and there is a realistic probability that DRC will be the first victim. This is because of the mineral resources which makes it attractive and weakness of the DRC government which makes it vulnerable. CAR and South Sudan are vulnerable but do posses as many resources. It is also likely that the import of and flow of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) will increase. 




The following challenges stand in the way of a sustainable solution to the crisis:


  • Lack of political will
  • Lack of economic buoyancy to support a joint military initiative
  • Lack of trust
  • Weak military
  • Internal political crisis


However, the Grey Dynamics Intelligence Report shows the possibility of cooperation because of these challenges and possibilities that arise from an alliance between ADF and LRA.


The map above shows the areas of influence of both ADF and LRA. It shows their proximity and explains why an alliance between them threatens the territorial integrity of concerned countries.



Image: James Oatway / Pambazuka (link)

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