ISIS recently made her first “terrorist” attack in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ugandan border:
Islamic State on Thursday, April 18 claimed that it killed Congolese soldiers in an attack in Kamango near the border between Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
A message posted by its Amaq propaganda agency said there were Congolese army “dead and wounded” following an attack by ISIS fighters in the town of Kamango near the border.
In a later statement, ISIS said “soldiers of the Caliphate” had attacked an army base in the village of Bovata, roughly 5 km (3 miles) from Komango in Beni region, “where they clashed with small and medium weapons.” Three Congolese army soldiers were killed and five others injured, the group claimed.
If confirmed, it would be the first attack in DR Congo that ISIS central has acknowledged.
Citing U.N. peacekeeping and civil society sources, Reuters reported that two Congolese soldiers and a civilian were killed in clashes in Bovata on Tuesday. The sources said witnesses had blamed the Allied Democratic Forces for the attack.
ISIS ascribed the attack to “Central Africa Province,” the first time the group has named an affiliate in the region. As in some other areas, Islamic State did not have an official wilayat, or province, in DR Congo, but had tentative links to the Allied Democratic Forces, a Ugandan-led militant group founded in 1995 with the stated goal of overthrowing the Ugandan government and creating an Islamic state.
Some time after 2012, the ADF adopted the Madina at Tauheed Wau Mujahedeen (MTM) – the City of Monotheism and Holy warriors, according to the Congo Research Group, which has argued the ADF has been “making a tentative attempt to align itself with other militant Islamist groups.”
The ADF operates in the border area in the DRC’s North Kivu province, an area where other armed groups are also active. The government has often blamed the ADF for killings, robberies and kidnappings, but numerous other armed groups operate in the region and sometimes it is unclear who the true assailants are.
The ADF is thought to have killed at least 700 civilians and more than 20 United Nations peacekeepers.
The ADF was believed to be behind an attack that killed seven people on February 8, was blamed for killing 10 soldiers and civilians on January 9, and nine people in an attack on January 9, all in the Beni region of North Kivu. (source, source)
As the article notes, the attack took place in a region known as North Kivu and was confirmed by ISIS propaganda on Twitter (here, here):
Conflicts are not unknown to happen in this area, as the area has been in a state of constant war since 1998 with the Second Congo War from 1998 to 2003, and the conflict that has continued since then called the Kivu Conflict.
Weapons have been coming into the area for a long time. The conflict between the government and the rebel groups in North Kivu is a conflict between a socialist government versus the various nationalist and tribalist groups, so it reflects the same paradigm in many of the conflicts around the world which have been used by “stay-behind” groups supported by the US as a part of Operation Gladio. The US has openly supported both the government and the rebels in the conflict:
Although the Clinton administration has been quick to criticize the governments involved in the Congo War, decades of U.S. weapons transfers and continued military training to both sides of the conflict have helped fuel the fighting. The U.S. has helped build the arsenals of eight of the nine governments directly involved in the war that has ravaged the DRC since Kabila’s coup. U.S. military transfers in the form of direct government-to-government weapons deliveries, commercial sales, and International Military Education and Training (IMET) to the states directly involved have totaled more than $125 million since the end of the Cold War. (source, source)
The first reason for supporting such a conflict would be for the benefit of the military and industrial complexes, as North Kivu is an area rich in natural resources, especially the rare-earth mineral Coltan, which contains Niobium and Tantalum. The former is used in heat-intensive metal alloys for infrastructure and electronics, the latter is used for high-quality capacitors in electronics, and both are considered critical to the functioning of modern technology and of which 50% of Coltan is mined in Rwanda, the direct neighbor to North Kivu.
But there is another more important reason for going into the DRC, and specifically that region: Oil.
Export.gov published a report in 2017 in which it said that after Angola, a former Portuguese colony, the second largest known concentrations of oil in sub-saharan Africa is in Congo, specifically in the North Kivu area and surrounding Kivu lake region, in addition to tremendous amounts of untapped energy under the ground:
Oil and gas discoveries in the east of the country give the DRC the second largest crude oil reserves in Central and Southern Africa after Angola. These reserves are primarily located in the four major lakes bordering Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda.
The DRC contains three sedimentary basins; the Coastal Basin located in Kongo Central, extending offshore past the Congo River estuary, the Central Basin, and the Grabens Albertine and Tanganyika, extending from the Ugandan-DRC border to the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika on the Zambian-DRC border. The DRC has proven reserves of 180 million barrels, though estimates of total petroleum reserves exceed 5 billion barrels. Currently, Congolese oil production is limited to the Coast Basin, yielding 25,000 barrels per day of offshore production, all of which are exported.
Along with large recently identified oil fields, the DRC may hold as many as 30 billion cubic meters of methane and natural gas in the three major petroleum deposits. Lake Kivu, bordering Rwanda and Burundi, has nearly 60 billion cubic meters of dissolved methane in its waters. While the methane gas poses a threat to populations along its shores, this gas can be trapped and converted to electricity. Methane is already being extracted on the Rwandan side of the Lake, through a Rwandan built biogas power plant that is generating 30-40 megawatts of electricity. Beyond the estimated 60 billion cubic meters of methane in Lake Kivu, the lake generates as much as 250,000 cubic meters of methane annually. (source, source)
Yahoo News in a recent article (here, here) produced a map showing US military footprints throughout Africa:
There is one listed for the DRC, Camp Dungu, which was opened to allegedly help fight the Lord’s Resistance Army, another terrorist group that existed in the DRC during the late 1990s and early 2000s but since has disappeared and the US in May 2017 announced they would pull out of Congo.
Now it is a known fact that ISIS is a US creation, and the documentation can be found in the Shoebat archives. Building upon this thesis, it is interesting that in a nation where the US has to withdraw from that niobthat is critical to industrial processes, all of a sudden ISIS shows up and begins to attack.
This is an invitation for the US to return to the Congo in the name of “security”, which is exactly what the President of the Congo recently announced would happen:
The Islamic State, pushed out of its strongholds in Syria and Iraq, could seek to establish a caliphate in the heart of Africa, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi warned in a meeting at the Atlantic Council in Washington on April 4. He sought a “strategic partnership” with the United States, one of the pillars of which would be military assistance to address the challenge of terrorism.
“It is easy to see how the defeat of Daesh, the Islamic State, in Syria and Iraq could lead to a situation where these groups are now going to come into Africa and take advantage of the pervasive poverty and also the situation of chaos that we have, for example, in Beni and Butembo, to set up their caliphate,” Tshisekedi said, referring to cities in northeastern DRC which have been gripped by deadly violence.
He blamed the violence in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on “local and foreign” armed groups.
Tshisekedi cited recent military intelligence that he said points to an “Islamic threat” stemming from the ADF, a Ugandan-led militant group based in the DRC.
In November 2018, the US Embassy in Kinshasa closed after receiving intelligence that an ISIS-linked group could carry out attacks against US interests in the DRC. The embassy reopened in December.
In March, US-backed forces in Syria declared victory over ISIS. Days earlier, US President Donald J. Trump declared ISIS would be “gone by tonight.”
Tshisekedi committed the DRC to the global war on terrorism. He said that in his meetings in Washington he has sought military cooperation with the United States to help equip the Congolese army and improve its intelligence capabilities. Such support, he maintained, was also essential to facilitating regional cooperation to address the threat posed by terrorism.
In eastern DRC, deadly violence by militias and Congolese security forces has made it difficult for health workers to treat the worst outbreak of Ebola in the history of the country. Attacks on treatment centers have compelled some international groups to suspend operations.
Since the outbreak of Ebola was detected in August 2018 there have been 993 confirmed and probable cases and 621 deaths in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Tshisekedi said the prevalence of Ebola was “even more reason why we need the support of our partners, in particular the United States.”
J. Peter Pham, the US special envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, said that in his meeting with Tshisekedi he had discussed the Congolese leader’s commitment to address the Ebola crisis, but also to fight corruption, advance human rights, ensure regional peace and security, and enhance the economic relationship between the United States and the DRC.
Tshisekedi has promised to fight corruption and open up the political space in the country. In March, he pardoned around 700 political prisoners jailed under his predecessor, Joseph Kabila.
Pham, who is also the vice president for research and regional initiatives and director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, said it was “very gratifying” to see the decree Tshisekedi signed on the release of prisoners. Pham also asked Tshisekedi about the return of exiles, acknowledging that the Congolese government had returned opposition figure Moïse Katumbi’s passport.
Tshisekedi, who spoke in French through a translator, said he is also seeking US assistance to “re-establish” the Congolese government, which he said would help ensure rule of law, a strong judicial system, and improve the business climate in the DRC.
“What we’re seeking is a new type of cooperation based on a win-win situation — a partnership that will be beneficial for both of our countries,” Tshisekedi said.
Tshisekedi’s father, Étienne, was the founder of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, the oldest and largest opposition party of the DRC. Felix took over the party following his father’s death in 2017.
Tshisekedi was sworn in as the president of the DRC on January 24. His inauguration marked the first peaceful transition of power in the history of the DRC and the end of his predecessor Kabila’s term, which lasted eighteen years.
Tshisekedi and Kabila have since agreed to form a coalition government. Tshisekedi was unable to win enough seats in parliament, where Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC), a coalition of several parties, holds an absolute majority.
The December 30, 2018, election, however, was mired in controversy. Martin Fayulu, the leader of the Engagement for Citizenship and Development party, was widely expected to win the election by a huge margin. An observer mission from the DRC’s highly respected Catholic Church’s bishops conference (CENCO) said its partial tallies showed Fayulu winning.
But the DRC’s Independent National Election Commission (CENI) was quick to announce Tshisekedi’s victory citing provisional results.
Following his surprise defeat, Fayulu launched a legal bid for a recount of the votes and proclaimed himself “the only legitimate president.” The Constitutional Court rejected his appeal because he presented no evidence to the tribunal to back his claims and declared Tshisekedi the winner.
After the decision by the Constitutional Court, the US State Department welcomed the first peaceful and democratic transfer of power in the DRC. While the elections represented the will of the Congolese people for a change of regime after eighteen years of rule by Kabila, concerns over the conduct and transparency of the electoral process remained.
On February 22, senior DRC officials, including CENI President Corneille Nangaa, were publicly designated by the State Department for engaging in corruption and undermining the democratic process, by conduct dating back to 2016. The officials, five of whom were identified while the names of others were withheld, were banned from receiving US visas. In a statement from Kinshasa, a senior State Department official indicated that the punitive measures were targeted against specific malign actors, and “supported President Tshisekedi’s commitment to root out corruption, advance human rights, and strengthen the DRC’s democracy.” These public designations were quickly followed by targeted financial sanctions against these individuals by the US Treasury Department on March 21.
Tshisekedi met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department on April 3. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said Pompeo “stressed that the United States will continue to promote accountability to advance reform in the DRC.” (source, source)
Notice this speech was given on April 4th- the time when he cited a threat from ISIS. Coincidentally, two weeks later to the day, ISIS initiates the first ever terrorist attack by their group in the Congo in that exact same contested region.
One could say this is a co-incidence, but the circumstances are highly suspicious, and it would be unwise to eliminate the involvement of the US, who created ISIS, in doing this as a justification to return to that region.
There is also another reason that is very important. Take a look at that Yahoo News map above, and one will notice a prevalence of US military footprints surrounding but not within Nigeria, and also her involvement in Gabon on the western border by Congo.
Nigeria is an important nation to watch because she is the most pro-China nation outside of China, and she is a major powerhouse in West Africa, mostly from her oil exports. This is why Shoebat.com warned about terrorism in Nigeria rising, which it has continued to, as well as in her neighbors, as her alliance with China as well as the fact that she has a pipeline that goes from her to Algeria which brings oil to Europe. In the event of a war, Nigeria will likely shut off that pipeline and continue to supply China. The US and her ally in Germany, who has also been returning to her former African colonial territories, has been aggressively exploring West Africa over the potential of new oil fields, which AFRICOM noted in 2009 stretch likely from Senegal all the way to Congo.
The Chinese are working to capture already functioning oil fields. The US is working with those but also is working on securing brand new ones in the anticipation of a coming conflict, as well as areas with rare-earth minerals.
Now the US has announced that she will be increasing her presence in Gabon in response to the Congo situation. It is a known fact that the US military base in Entebbe, Uganda, east of Congo, is a critical base for US military intelligence operations in Africa. Gabon is likewise a center of military intelligence, but less so.
By building up the US military presence in Gabon in the West and now having a justification to assert not only a stronger military presence East of Congo but now in the Eastern regions of Congo, it provides a direct “line” from one base to the other. This “line” can press north towards Cameroon, CAR, and other nations, or south into Zambia and Angola, and effectively creates a buffer zone as well as a battering ram that divides and can be used to press other militaries out of the area, of which the biggest target would be the Chinese since they are the US’ greatest enemy and competitor in Africa at the moment.
This is about locking down as many resources as possible as it is about dividing and cutting out the Chinese presence in Africa through claims of “security”, and to that getting ready for another global conflict.