The Biden administration on Wednesday designated two alleged affiliates of the Islamic State in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique as foreign terrorist organizations.
The State Department named as foreign terrorist organizations the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in Congo and Ansar al-Sunna in Mozambique. The Department also designated the respective leaders of those organizations, Seka Must Baluku and Abu Yasir Hassan, as “Specially Designated Terrorists.” The designations freeze all US property and assets in the groups’ and leaders’ names and prohibit the American public from doing business with them. Additionally, the Department stated that “it is a crime to knowingly provide material support or resources” to the groups, or “to attempt to conspire to do so.”
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) launched the Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP) in April 2019 to advance its presence of ISIS affiliates with Africa, according to the State Department. However, the ADF and Ansar al-Sunna identify themselves as distinct from ISCAP. “These groups have committed or pose a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism,” the Department stated. “Terrorist designations expose and isolate entities and individuals and deny them access to the US financial system,” the statement continued.
The State Department accused both groups of carrying out several attacks across the country that have resulted in the killing of thousands of citizens. Moreover, the “large scale and sophisticated attacks” resulted in the displacement of nearly 670,000 individuals in northern Mozambique. In the past decade, the US has sanctioned ADF and six of its members, including its leader, for their roles in human rights abuse, violence, and atrocities.
The US believes designating the foreign groups as terrorist organizations will “assist the law enforcement activities of US agencies and other governments.”