At least 69 Christians have been killed in three separate attacks on villages in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). People have also been kidnapped and others injured, and several buildings burnt to the ground.
In the first attack, on Wednesday 7 March, seven Christians were killed whilst working on their farms in Muvulya village. The following day, at least 40 believers were killed in the village of Mukondi, with the victims including 15 children. In the latest attack, last Saturday (11 March), 22 Christians were killed in Kirindera village. A health clinic and hospital were also burnt down.
The attacks have been attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militant group with links to so-called Islamic State (IS). Following the second attack, IS issued a statement claiming responsibility for it.
The death toll could increase and it’s not yet known how many people have been kidnapped and wounded in the attacks, all of which took place in North Kivu province where the ADF are particularly active.
The ADF is driven by an Islamic expansionist agenda and purposely targets Christians. M23 rebels – whose motives are more political – are also prominent in the area. According to the UN, ongoing insecurity in eastern DRC has displaced 300,000 from their homes in February alone.
"Where Christians go, suffering continues." - Reverend Gabriel
“The news you received from Kirindera is true; Christians are suffering,” says Reverend Gabriel*, a local minister speaking of the third attack. “Christians have moved to areas deemed secure and the church, the body of Christ, is in danger, and where Christians go, suffering continues. The news you have received is true, the church is in danger. Let us pray.”
The DRC rose three places to number 37 in the latest World Watch List, in large part due to the rampant violence bringing increasing devastation to Christians. This reflects more broadly the situation in sub-Saharan Africa, where violence against believers has hit new heights as jihadists seek to make Africa the first Islamic continent. Please continue to pray into this deeply troubling situation.
*Name changed for security reasons
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