Kinshasa – Congolese authorities have arrested a foreigner they say is Jordanian who has been training rebels from the Islamist Allied Democratic Forces in the use of drones, a government source said on Tuesday.
The man was arrested in Beni, in the dangerous eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, before being transferred to Kinshasa for interrogation, Congolese government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya said.
“This man was in charge of training ADF terrorists in the handling of drones,” he said.
Another source said that the suspect was also found in possession of a residence permit from the Republic of Kosovo, which AFP was able to see. This document indicates his age, 40, and states his nationality as Saudi.
In May, a former ADF hostage had told AFP reporters that she had seen “Caucasians” handling drones in a clearing in a forest in Beni.
The arrest “would be the first clear indication that the Islamic State is providing its Congolese affiliate with direct technical assistance,” said Laren Poole, head of operations at the US-based Bridgeway Foundation.
Of the hundred or so armed groups active in the eastern region of the DRC, the ADF is accused of being responsible for the massacre of more than 6 000 civilians since 2013, according to a tally by religious authorities.
The ADF were originally Ugandan Muslim rebels. They are now touted by ISIS as its branch in Central Africa.
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