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Democratic Republic of the Congo

Overview: More than a dozen significant armed groups and about 100 criminal gangs and local  militias operate in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). ISIS maintains links with  local affiliate ISIS-DRC, locally known as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), and Madina at

Tauheed Wau Mujahedeen. The United States designated ISIS-DRC as a Foreign Terrorist  Organization in March 2021.

Before pledging allegiance to ISIS in 2019, the ADF had operated in the eastern Democratic  Republic of the Congo for years. They are known for large-scale, systemic violence against  civilians and asymmetric attacks against the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC). In 2021,  Democratic Republic of the Congo security forces arrested Burundian, Jordanian, Kenyan,  Rwandan, Tanzanian, and Ugandan ISIS-DRC suspects, in addition to Congolese.

2021 Terrorist Incidents: According to the UN, in 2021 ISIS-DRC allegedly injured at least  257 people, abducted 1,129, and killed at least 1,120 people, a 52 percent increase in such  violence over 2020. ISIS-DRC primarily targets civilians in large-scale attacks, but it also  targets the FARDC and UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of  the Congo (known as MONUSCO) Peacekeepers.

In 2021, there were notable changes in ISIS-DRC’s tactics and weapons. The group’s push north  into Ituri Province and west in North Kivu Province throughout 2021 enlarged its operating area,  making it less predictable and stretching Congolese security resources. Major attacks on main  roads were intended to disrupt transit of goods, people, and security forces. While ISIS-DRC  continued to use rudimentary IEDs in a defensive manner, in June the organization deployed multiple IEDs in Beni city, including its first suicide bombing in the Democratic Republic of the  Congo. These devices employed a more sophisticated design than previously seen, suggesting  outside expertise.


Since the onset of joint FARDC-Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) military operations  against ISIS-DRC on November 30, the group is believed to be operating in several  decentralized and mobile groups.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Democratic Republic of the Congo has no comprehensive CT legislation. Its National Assembly passed a draft CT bill in 2018 that  stalled in the Senate. The Democratic Republic of the Congo shares some 6,835 miles of land,  lake, and river borders with nine countries but lacks the capacity to effectively patrol them. The  border authority, the Directorate General of Migration, uses the IOM Migration Information and  Data Analysis System (or MIDAS) at only a fraction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s  more than 400 official border crossings.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: The government made efforts to strengthen its  AML/CFT framework, although it still lacks resources and capacity. Notably, under new  leadership, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Financial Intelligence Unit (known as

CENAREF) revitalized engagement with international partners. The Democratic Republic of the  Congo is a member of GABAC, the Task Force on Money Laundering in Central Africa. The  Democratic Republic of the Congo government introduced a bill in 2021 to make the Democratic  Republic of the Congo an Associate Member of the policy of CEMAC, the Economic and  Monetary Community of Central Africa, on AML/CFT.

Countering Violent Extremism: There were no significant changes in 2021.

International and Regional Cooperation: The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a member  of the Global Defeat-ISIS Coalition and participated in the June Defeat-ISIS Ministerial in  Rome, and the December Africa Focus Group meeting in Brussels. In late November, President  Tshisekedi authorized the UPDF to intervene in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to  combat ISIS-DRC and to conduct joint UPDF-FARDC operations.

In 2021, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was a member of the Southern African  Development Community and the International Conference on the Great Lakes  Region. President Tshisekedi held the annual rotating chairmanship of the African Union in  2021.

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