Uganda: April 17, 2003

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Saddam Hussein's regime is said to be linked to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Ugandan rebel group with ties to other anti-western Islamic organizations. Secret Iraqi Intelligence Service dossiers detailing Iraq's charge d'affaires in Nairobi, Fallah Hassan Al Rubdie, discussions with the ADF were found in their Baghdad headquarters, among shredded papers. 

A senior ADF operative outlined his group's efforts to set up an "international mujahadeen team in one letter to the Iraqi spy chief. Its mission, he said," will be to smuggle arms on a global scale to holy warriors fighting against US, British and Israeli influences in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Far East". The April 2001 letter was signed by a "Bekkah Abdul Nassir, Chief of Diplomacy ADF Forces", who offered to "vet, recruit and send youth to train for the jihad" at a center in Baghdad described as a "headquarters for international holy warrior network". 

The documents provide the first hard evidence of ties between Iraq and African Islamic terrorism. Both the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) and Allied Democratic Forces rebels, who have been fighting the Ugandan government while receiving Sudanese support, reportedly had some of their fighters trained in Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

The Sudan-Congo-Ugandan border region is porous, lawless and a perfect place for 
international mischief. A senior Ugandan army officer once remarked that it was possible for a terrorist to carry "anything" all the way from the Chadian/Libyan border to East Africa without being stopped by any central authorities. A few years ago, Osama bin Laden exploited this same axis of lawless to infiltrate western Uganda and set up Al Qaeda cells in Buseruka and the Rwenzori Mountains straddling the Congo-Uganda border.

The key figure behind the ADF is widely acknowledged to be a fundamentalist Islamic cleric, Sheikh Jamil Mukulu. According to the Ugandan government and western intelligence sources, Sheikh Mukulu became friendly with Osama bin Laden in the early to mid-Nineties, when the Al Qaeda chief was living in Khartoum.

Al Qaeda operatives trained in Sudan and Afghanistan had a loose alliance with the ADF, which the Ugandan Army discovered after recovering some of Al Qaeda's documents after it overrun ADF camps in the Rwenzoris. Uganda then tried to draw the world's attention to Al Qaeda's presence and plans in the Great Lakes region. Everyone was sceptical - from the media to foreign governments, including the United States. Then came September 11th, 2001. - Adam Geibel



 

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