Logo of the “City of Monotheism and Monotheists” group
A recently emerged video shared on various Islamic State channels appears to show jihadists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) calling on people to join them in the fighting there. The video, which is very low quality and grainy, is undated and cannot be independently verified by FDD’s Long War Journal.
In the video, a group calling itself “The City of Monotheism and Monotheists (MTM)” is shown grouped together in a jungle. It is unclear where the group might be based, however, the DRC’s North Kivu province near the Ugandan border has been the flashpoint of Islamist violence for the last 20 years.
An Arabic-speaking militant is then shown speaking to the camera where he calls on those “in Dar al Kufr [Abode of Apostasy] to migrate to Dar al Jihad, Dar al Qitl [Abode of Fighting], and Dar al Eman [Abode of Faith].” He continues by saying that “this is Dar al Islam” and that “I swear to God that this is Dar al Islam of the Islamic State in Central Africa.” He ends his speech by again calling on people to migrate to the DRC and join them and that “here we are Emigrants and Helpers fighting in the path of God…I swear to God that here [we] are in the Jihad.”
MTM, as shown in the video, appears to be a small unit that contains at least one non-Congolese militant. At least three child fighters are also seen in the video. The group claims to be loyal to the Islamic State and the video has made its rounds in Islamic State-affiliated social media accounts. No official statement has been made by the Islamic State on any bayah statement or otherwise on the Congo.
This group is likely minor and does not pose a major Islamic State threat in the Congo. Most of DRC’s Islamist violence is perpetrated by the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The ADF is purported to have links to al Qaeda’s Shabaab and other African jihadist groups, while its leader allegedly met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan in the early 90s.
That said, some have cast doubt on the relationship between ADF and other African jihadists. Claims of cooperation have been made by DRC and Ugandan officials, which is often difficult to independently verify.
However, the video’s significance among Islamic State channels and supporters represents a current trend of attempting to show victories or expansion despite major setbacks in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere. It remains to be seen how well this call to join the jihad in the DRC will go over for the apparently nascent Islamic State-loyal group.
Screenshots from the video showing the Arabic speaker and child fighters:
Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.