Economic Survival and Borderland Rebellion: The Case of the Allied Demoocratic Forces on the Uganda-Congo Border
The Journal of the Middle East and Africa
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One of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s oldest, most organized, and traditionally best-trained—but, arguably, least known—rebel groups is the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). Its resiliency and particularly its economic survival skills have largely been understood through the prism of Islamic extremism. Yet this narrative has proven to have serious inaccuracies and flaws. Explanations focused on terrorism, for example, do not take into consideration the ADF’s pivotal business ventures, such as cross-border trade, agriculture, and the taxing of timber forests. They not only ignore these activities but are unable to explain how the ADF was able to practice, and become successful at, these ventures in the first place. This study specifically looks at the economic activities of the ADF, namely, its financial strategies and methods of procuring and retaining weapons, equipment, foodstuffs, and, importantly, territory/land. It argues that the sources of the group’s economic resiliency do not only lie, as many have argued, in its Islamist leanings. Rather, we need to also look at the particularities of borderlands and how the ADF has been able to adopt various local material resource practices and integrate into cross-border economic networks.
Citation of this paper:
Scorgie-Porter, Lindsay. 2015. Economic Survival and Borderland Rebellion: The Case of the Allied Demoocratic Forces on the Uganda-Congo Border. The Journal of the Middle East and Africa, 6(2), 191-213. https://doi.org/10.1080/21520844.2015.1055452