News Congo DR (DRC) | 09 July 2024

At least 80 Christians killed in DRC attacks


Show: true / Country: Congo DR (DRC) / Congo DR (DRC)

On June 4, residents of Masau village in the Democratic Republic of Congo woke to flames engulfing their village. That day, armed militants set fire to eight houses, killing 10 men and six women.

But that would be only the beginning of the bloodshed in the country’s eastern region. Open Doors local partners tell us that from June 4-10, in the country’s North Kivu province, at least 80 Christians lost their lives as militants led a violent killing spree over seven days.

The deadliest attacks in June, so far, came on June 7, when militants killed 50 Christians in Masalsa, Mahihi and Keme villages. The attacks are part of the ongoing insurgency by Islamic extremist group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). In the DRC, where 95% of the population identifies as Christian, the ADF is known for their violent atrocities—and for targeting those who follow Jesus. The group is reported to be allied with the Islamic State group, and reportedly, an online post by the Islamic State group says that one of the week's attacks targeted Christians.

“We have understood that the objective of the ADF is to convert everyone into a Muslim,” says Reverend Kambale Aristote of CECA20 church. “And this is a persecution of a great level.”

Sharing about the June 7 attacks, Reverend Aristote told Open Doors local partners: “The ADF killed more than 50 Christians and burnt them to death in their plank houses.”

The 50 victims have been identified as members of the 3e CBCA, CEBSE, Roman Catholic and CECA20 churches, among others. They were working on their farms when they were ruthlessly attacked with machetes and guns. Others were burned to death in their shelters.

But the extremist group was still not finished. The next day on June 8, at around 8 am, the ADF took Makodu village by surprise. They were in the middle of a community celebration. Extremists killed 13 Christians, stabbing some and shooting others who attempted to flee.

And on June 10, militants targeted Masuku village, burning several houses. Their violent spree continued into nearby Kabweke village, growing even more heinous. There, they killed the two children of local Pastor Kitsa, a church leader also with the CECA20 church.

Reverend Aristote estimates the death toll of this latest spate of attacks at 80-plus Christians, though he noted that some are still missing. He pleads for prayers from the Church worldwide.
“Really, it is prayer, nothing but prayer,” he says. “We ask all Christians to continue to intercede for us.”

Jo Newhouse* field spokesperson for Open Doors’ work in Sub-Saharan Africa, notes the strategic timing of the attacks. “These unabated attacks come at a time when Christian farmers were preparing for harvest,” she says.

“The impact is that many families are without means to feed their families, and the unprepared displacement has put pressure on the livelihood of Christian families now on the move to unknown destinations.”

Attacks in the DRC continue despite three years of joint military operations against the ADF by the Ugandan and Congolese governments. Reportedly, by the end of 2023, an estimated 6.9 million people across the DRC were displaced, mostly in the country’s eastern provinces.

“Open Doors calls on the international community,” Newhouse says, “to do everything in its power to ensure the government of DRC faithfully and transparently protects all affected communities and that the displaced receive the support they need in these circumstances.”

The DRC continues to be an an extremely difficult place for Christians who are targeted relentlessly. The country is ranked No. 41 on Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List, an annual report ranking the top 50 most dangerous countries for Christians.

Research from this year’s report indicates that sub-Saharan Africa is the deadliest place in the world to follow Jesus. More Christians are killed and forced to flee in this region than any other place on the globe. 


please pray

Pray with our family in eastern DRC:

  • Pray for the strength and faith of Christians who have lost loved ones and are now internally displaced … that the Lord’s mighty hand will be their shield, and He will comfort and provide for them.
  • Pray for emotional healing for all Christians that have been impacted by recent attacks in eastern DRC.
  • Pray for the faith and the growth of the Church amidst the chaos, that God will protect His house, and His works will prevail.
  • Pray for peace and security in the DRC and for the Lord to lead the military in ending conflicts in the country.
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