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Congo arrests Middle Eastern national for links to Islamist militia

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KINSHASA, Sept 21 (Reuters) – Democratic Republic of Congo has stated it has arrested a Middle Eastern national for alleged ties to an Islamist militia within the east of DRC, probably the primary time a non-African fighter has been discovered working with the group.

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamist armed group led by Ugandans, has been blamed for dozens of massacres with hatchets and firearms within the final three years, largely in distant villages.

In 2019 the ADF’s management pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS), which has in flip claimed dozens of the ADF’s assaults, though United Nations consultants say they haven’t discovered conclusive proof that IS has management over ADF operations.

Congo’s authorities spokesman Patrick Muyaya confirmed the person’s arrest.

“The person arrested is of Jordanian nationality. He was taken back to Kinshasa for further interrogation,” Muyaya informed Reuters.

According to paperwork seen by Reuters, nevertheless, the person was carrying a Kosovo residence allow, figuring out him as a 40-year-old Saudi Arabian national. Reuters was not instantly in a position to affirm the doc’s authenticity.

The man is believed to have been in command of the militia’s drones, and was arrested on Sept. 18 in Makisabo, close to the town of Beni, North Kivu province, the place the ADF are energetic, in accordance to inner military stories seen by Reuters.

Former ADF fighters have informed United Nations investigators the group has used at the least two drones for surveillance.

“If this individual is confirmed to have been sent by the Islamic State’s central leadership, it would also be the first clear indication that the Islamic state is providing their Congo affiliate with direct technical assistance,” stated Laren Poole of Bridgeway Foundation, a U.S.-based thinktank that research the group.

In May, the federal government launched martial regulation to pacify the nation’s mineral-rich east, the place the ADF and over 100 different armed teams function.

President Felix Tshisekedi informed the U.N. basic meeting on Tuesday the transfer had succeeded in killing a whole bunch of militiamen and dismantling a number of weapons and mineral-trafficking networks.

However, the variety of civilians killed in militia assaults has largely remained unchanged, evaluation by rights watchdog Human Rights Watch has proven.

Reporting by Hereward Holland; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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