Seka Musa Baluku

Seka Musa Baluku is the U.S. and U.N.-designated leader of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF)—otherwise known as ISIS-DRC.“State Department Terrorist Designations of ISIS Affiliates and Leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique,” U.S. Department of State, March 10, 2021, https://www.state.gov/state-department-terrorist-designations-of-isis-affiliates-and-leaders-in-the-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-and-mozambique/. The group reportedly killed 849 civilians in 2020 and as of March 2021, displaced over 140,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) North Kivu and Ituri provinces.“State Department Terrorist Designations of ISIS Affiliates and Leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique,” U.S. Department of State, March 10, 2021, https://www.state.gov/state-department-terrorist-designations-of-isis-affiliates-and-leaders-in-the-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-and-mozambique/; “Armed attacks kill hundreds, displace 40,000 civilians in northeast DR Congo,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, March 19, 2021, https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/news/briefing/2021/3/60545e684/armed-attacks-kill-hundreds-displace-40000-civilians-northeast-dr-congo.html. The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Baluku as a Specially Designated National on December 10, 2019, and the Department of State designated Baluku as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on March 10, 2021.“State Department Terrorist Designations of ISIS Affiliates and Leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique,” U.S. Department of State, March 10, 2021, https://www.state.gov/state-department-terrorist-designations-of-isis-affiliates-and-leaders-in-the-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-and-mozambique/; “Global Magnitsky Designations,” United States Department of the Treasury, December 10, 2019, https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20191210.

Since 1995, ISIS-DRC, also known as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and Madina at Tauheed Wau Mujahedeen, has been responsible for attacks in the North Kivu and Ituri Provinces in eastern DRC.Conor Gafey, “DR Congo: What Is the ADF, the Ugandan Rebel Group Hacking Civilians to Death?,” Newsweek, December 2, 2015, https://www.newsweek.com/dr-congo-who-are-adf-ugandan-rebels-hacking-civilians-death-399889; “State Department Terrorist Designations of ISIS Affiliates and Leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique,” U.S. Department of State, March 10, 2021, https://www.state.gov/state-department-terrorist-designations-of-isis-affiliates-and-leaders-in-the-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-and-mozambique/. The group has forced thousands of civilians in the DRC to flee to neighboring Uganda. The group has also recruited children, including some as young as 10 years old, to serve as soldiers against the Ugandan government.“Treasury Sanctions Rebel Group Responsible for Targeting Civilians in The Democratic Republic of Congo,” United States Department of the Treasury, July 1, 2014, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2449.aspx.

Baluku is a longtime member of the ADF and was originally second in command to founder Jamil Mukulu. Baluku replaced Mukulu as ADF leader sometime following the launch of Sukola I, a Congolese Army operation to combat the growing threat of the ADF, in 2014.“Seka Baluku,” United Nations Security Council, February 6, 2020, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/content/seka-baluku. As ADF leader, Baluku instructed ADF combatants to kill civilians near population centers to divert the Congolese army away from ADF positions and also retaliate against civilians who allegedly provided information to the army about the ADF.“Letter dated 16 October 2015 from the Group of Experts extended pursuant to Security Council resolution 2198 (2015) addressed to the President of the Security Council,’ United Nations Security Council, October 16, 2015, https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_2015_797.pdf.

The ADF was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on July 1, 2014 and the United Nations on October 29, 2014.“Treasury Sanctions Rebel Group Responsible for Targeting Civilians in The Democratic Republic of Congo,” United States Department of the Treasury, July 1, 2014, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2449.aspx; “ALLIED DEMOCRATIC FORCES (ADF),” United Nations Security Council, October 29, 2014, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1533/materials/summaries/entity/allied-democratic-forces-%28adf%29. The U.S. Treasury Department designated Baluku, on December 10, 2019 under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program for his role in serious human rights abuse.“State Department Terrorist Designations of ISIS Affiliates and Leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique,” U.S. Department of State, March 10, 2021, https://www.state.gov/state-department-terrorist-designations-of-isis-affiliates-and-leaders-in-the-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-and-mozambique/. Although the ADF has never formally claimed allegiance to ISIS, the extremist organization has described areas under ADF influence as its “Central Africa Province.” Subsequently, in July 2019, ISIS began claiming attacks carried out by the ADF.“Congo Islamist ADF rebels kill 12 in Ebola area,” Reuters, July 23, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-congo-security/congo-islamist-adf-rebels-kill-12-in-ebola-area-idUSKCN1UI2SH.

On February 6, 2020, the U.N. Security Council included Baluku on its sanctions list. Baluku was listed for his role in directing ongoing violence against civilians, including children. Among his crimes include planning and committing the killing, maiming, rape, abduction, and forced labor of civilians within the DRC.“Seka Baluku,” United Nations Security Council, February 6, 2020, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/content/seka-baluku.

Baluku was designated by the U.S. State Department as an SDGT on March 10, 2021, for his role in directing violent attacks resulting in the displacement of hundreds of thousands throughout the DRC.“State Department Terrorist Designations of ISIS Affiliates and Leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique,” U.S. Department of State, March 10, 2021, https://www.state.gov/state-department-terrorist-designations-of-isis-affiliates-and-leaders-in-the-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-and-mozambique/.

United States

The U.S. Department of State designated Seka Musa Baluku as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on March 10, 2021.“State Department Terrorist Designations of ISIS Affiliates and Leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique,” U.S. Department of State, March 10, 2021, https://www.state.gov/state-department-terrorist-designations-of-isis-affiliates-and-leaders-in-the-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-and-mozambique/.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Seka Musa Baluku as a Specially Designated National on December 10, 2019.“Global Magnitsky Designations,” United States Department of the Treasury, December 10, 2019, https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20191210.

United Nations

The U.N. Security Council Sanctions Committee designates Seka Baluku on February 6, 2020.“Sanctions Committee concerning Democratic Republic of Congo Adds One Individual to Its Sanctions List,” United Nations, February 6, 2020, https://www.un.org/press/en/2020/sc14101.doc.htm.

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