The combined armed forces of UPDF and Congolese FARDC have killed one of the most wanted and top Allied Democratic Forces(ADF) commander, Elias Ssegujja.
Ssegujja, also known as Fezza, Feeza and Mulalo was killed during clashes with the joint forces that are part of Operation Shuja in the eastern part of DRC .
We have been hunting these groups because they are small and so you bump into one and exchange fire and if you are lucky, you get a big catch like this Ssegujja. That is well and good," the UPDF spokesperson, Brig Felix Kulayigye said of the development.
The Ugandan army spokesperson described Ssegujja as a big fish in the ranks of the ADF rebel group which has since been designated as a terrorist outfit.
"He has spent many years in the ADF and has since been among the three top most commanders of the group. He was killed together with three others. We shall not relent on hitting them."
According to Colonel Mak Hazukay, the spokesperson for Operation Shuja,Ssegujja was killed during clashes in Mwalika valley in the Rwenzori sector in North Kivu.
He noted that at the time of his death, the deceased was the head of the political wing of the ADF, commander of the Southern sector under which Mwalika where he was killed falls but also the third highest ranking commander of the group which the Islamic State group claims as its central African affiliate.
Whereas Ssegujja was killed late last month, it took long for the two armies to confirm his identity and according to sources, it took one of the former bodyguards to the ADF commander who had earlier been captured to identify and confirm his identity.
Born in Uganda, Ssegujja has been one of the ADF's original members and has since risen through the ranks at the terrorist outfit to become the third tom most commander by the time of his death.
The recent death and capture of a number of senior ADF commanders has seen Sseguja rise in ranks and position to fill the vacuum left behind.
As a field commander, he has been accused of leading multiple deadly attacks against civilian populations, commanding a mobile camp, burning United Nations armored vehicles, caning uncooperative civilians, and killing civilians suspected of aiding the DRC army.
For example, at some time he led a mobile camp in the Mayangosie forest along the Kasindi-Beni highway where he was charged with creating insecurity to drive away civilians and the Congolese army when the ADF needed to transit between its southern camps and those in Eringeti.
In 2013 he is accused of leading an attack against a group of FARDC soldiers who were escorting civilians along the Kamango road and under his command, the ADF killed a number fo soldiers and civilians, most of whom were beheaded whereas the UN vehicles in which they were travelling were torched.
Ssegujja had also previously served as the chief of combat and operations but also worked with the artillery before becoming a commander.
The ADF was formed out of remnants of the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU) and Jamilu Mukulu was the group's founding leader until a few years ago when he was captured by the Tanzanian forces and repatriated back to Uganda where he is currently facing charges related to terrorism.
They operate in North Kivu which borders other provinces including Ituri to the north and South Kivu to the South and has been a battle ground for a number of rival armed ethnic groups since 1998.
The province consists of three cities including; Goma, Butembo and Beni as well as six territories--Beni, Lubero, Masisi, Rutshuru.
According to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, the ADF which was designated as a terrorist group by the US government, has used the name Madina at Tauheed Wau Mujahedeen (City of Monotheism and Holy Warriors--MTM) to refer to emphasize its links to the Islamic State.
In 2019, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for an ADF attack and first referenced a "Central Africa Province."
The Islamic State group has in the past claimed that ADF is its Central African offshoot .
The organization is led by Musa Baluku, who served as a senior ADF Islamic legal official before consolidating power following Mukulu's 2015 arrest.
ADF has been blamed for several attacks on villages where many have been killed , others abducted as well as planting bombs that have killed many.
The group was also blamed for the twin blasts in Kampala in November last year at the Central Police Station and along Parliamentary Avenue in Kampala that led to death of several people whereas others were left injured.
Whereas it was hoped that Baluku had been killed in the November 30 air and artillery strikes by the UPDF and FADRC, no evidence has confirmed this.
However, nothing has ever been heard about Baluku's whereabouts following the launch of the attacks by the UPDF.