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Title:Militant Islamists or borderland dissidents? An exploration into the Allied Democratic Forces' recruitment practices and constitution
Author:Scorgie-Porter, Lindsay
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies (ISSN 0022-278X)
Geographic terms:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Islamic movements
military recruitment
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022278X14000676
Abstract:Descriptions of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a relatively resilient rebel group in the borderland between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, are almost solely focused upon the rebellion's Islamic extremist characteristics. Through looking specifically at the ADF's recruitment practices, this article seeks to problematise existing accounts of the group's constitution. It discusses how Islamic extremism has had a significant influence on various aspects of ADF recruitment, and therefore helps to explain particular dimensions of the ADF's composition. Nevertheless, the article demonstrates that focusing on the role of Islamism alone, leaves a large part of the ADF's story untold, such as the important role played by recruitment networks associated with marginalised and militarised ex-combatants, or the populations of disenfranchised youth in the borderlands. Indeed, unresolved political and socio-economic injustices amongst the people of the Rwenzories have been just as significant motivating factors for joining the rebels as have Islamic sources. Thus, the article argues that the ADF's recruitment practices and constitution cannot be sufficiently analysed without adequate recognition of the rebel group's position within a borderland context. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]