Beni – Democratic Republic of Congo and Ugandan troops have taken two major bases held by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a suspected jihadist group being targeted in a joint offensive, the Congolese army said on Friday.
Soldiers seized the Kambi ya Jua 1 and Kambi ya Jua 2 bases, located in the Virunga National Park wildlife reserve south of the eastern city of Beni, army spokesperson Captain Antony Mualushayi said in a video message to AFP.
“This stronghold fell after heavy fighting on the ground and air and artillery bombardment the previous day,” he said.
Congolese forces suffered one injured, as did their Ugandan counterparts, he said.
“We will press ahead with attacking other strongholds that have been previously identified,” said Mualushayi, working alongside Congolese and Ugandan officers coordinating the offensive.
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The ADF was historically a Ugandan rebel coalition whose biggest group comprised Muslims opposed to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
But it established itself in eastern DRC in 1995, becoming the deadliest of scores of outlawed forces in the troubled region.
It has been blamed for the killings of thousands of civilians over the past decade in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as for bombings in the Ugandan capital Kampala.
The Islamic State group presents the ADF as its regional branch – the Islamic State Central Africa Province, or ISCAP.
On March 11 this year, the United States placed the ADF on its list of “terrorist groups” affiliated with IS jihadists.
The DRC and Ugandan armed forces launched their offensive on November 30 after Congolese troops struggled for months to quell bloody ADF attacks.
On Sunday, the two militaries said ADF camps in several areas around Beni in North Kivu province, as well as in neighbouring Ituri province, had been destroyed after bombardment.
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