Terrorist Attacks in the Congo Kill At Least 80 Christians

Terrorist Attacks in the Congo Kill At Least 80 Christians

Terrorists tied to the Islamic State (ISIS) are suspected of murdering at least 80 Christians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in attacks between June 4 and June 8. Authorities believe the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group with ties to ISIS, are responsible. ISIS took responsibility on Friday for another attack that killed at least 42 people on June 12.

June 7 was the deadliest day for the attacks, during which suspected ADF militants attacked several villages in the Beni territory of the North Kivu province, which is mostly Christian.

Wednesday’s attack occurred in the village of Mayikengo in Lubero territory in the same province as the other attacks. The attackers allegedly asked residents to gather in a market for a meeting, then attacked with firearms and machetes, according to a local official.

ADF is ISIS’s regional affiliate in the DRC, also known as ISIS-DRC. The group operated in the eastern DRC for years before pledging allegiance to ISIS in 2017, according to the U.S. State Department. The U.S. designated ISIS-DRC as a foreign terrorist threat in 2021.

According to Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors, the attacks continue despite an operation underway known as “Cheng Gong,” led by United Nations peacekeeping forces and a coalition of the Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces and the DRC Armed Forces.

“We have understood that the objective of the ADF is to convert everyone into a Muslim and this is a persecution of a great level,” local Pastor Kambale Aristote said. “We ask all Christians to continue to intercede for us.”

An Open Doors spokesperson in sub-Saharan Africa noted, “The rate at which the ADF continue to attack Christian communities in eastern DRC is horrifying. … Christians are forced to flee and some churches in the affected villages have closed because of the latest attacks.

“These unabated attacks come at a time when Christian farmers were preparing for harvest. 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.

“We call on the international community 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.”

Above: A resident clears building debris after attacks at a village in the Beni region of the North Kivu province, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, June 11, 2024.

Xinhua / Alamy Stock Photo

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