Within the last couple of weeks there have been a couple of stories that have raised the interest of CT Analysts regarding the situation in Central Africa.
In late January Rwandan Authorities acting on a tip raided a mosque in Kigali. The raid yielded some interesting news. First the Deputy Imam was actually shot and killed by Security Forces, A Treasure Trove of Data including extremist literature,CDs, messages left from Social Media Platforms and a trail to other Jihadists. Some of the Jihadists were actually able to flee the Country. This may show just how poor security is in the region.
Also in the same timeframe an incident occurred within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Units of FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) fired upon peacekeepers from Tanzania at the behest of local inhabitants. In the past UN Reports have been critical of Tanzanian support for the FDLR. The point of divergence this time is that the Tanzanians were accused of supporting Islamist Fighters in the DRC.
When one thinks of issues regarding the DRC one automatically focuses on the restless and mineral rich Eastern Provinces of the Country. ( Nord Kivu, Sud Kivu and Ituri)
This is where the Second Congolese Civil War was mostly contested. This itself was a result of the Rwandan Genocide that occurred in 1994 and led to the Government that was in Power in Kigali being driven from the Country. However the region has been the Area of Operation for an Islamist Group that has not received any major notice.
The ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) is a mainly Ugandan Militia that also operates in the Eastern DRC. They have not launched any attacks that have generated any interest in the West like the FDLR or even the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army). It has also been accused of receiving aid from the Sudanese Government. The Group also assisted Al-Shabaab in their Kampala attacks during the 2010 World Cup also. The UN Mission has been keeping tabs on this group and others in the region. This suggests that Intelligence Gathering in the DRC is an issue for UN Peacekeepers.
The question of why now may be an easy answer. Towards the end of the month Elections for both President and Parliament are scheduled to be run. Elections are scheduled to occur in the DRC later this year as well. The situation in Burundi is so chaotic that an outside force can and probably will be exploited. So with reports of Rwandan recruiting Burundians to go back and act as insurgentsreaching the west why isn't the possibility of Islamists trying to do the same generating the same interest?
Ethnically the Populations of both Rwanda and Burundi are broken down into similar proportions. The same is true when it comes to Religion as well (Both Countries are between 2 and 5%). So at the very least we have to assume that ISIS is on the road to creating another Cell in Africa. The Rwandans may have lucked into finding it as well and the West and other Governments have their heads in the sands as usual….. Meanwhile ISIS is growing, plotting to expand their Operations and biding their time.