Last week, over the course of three days, Islamic militants murdered at least eight Christians in vulnerable communities in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) – an Islamic extremist group with links to so-called Islamic State – are responsible for another devastating series of attacks. Violent persecution continues to rise in the region, and assaults like this are shocking but sadly not surprising.
The ADF began attacking villages in the Beni territory, North Kivu province, on Friday 12 May. Commuters from Kasindi-Lubiriha were travelling over a bridge when they were intercepted by ADF militants. They murdered three Christians and torched cars and motorcycles. Locals say that it was early afternoon, in broad daylight.
The following day, militants also killed three Christians in Katongo village – an incident confirmed by Pastor Bunvikane, a local Open Doors contact who leads the 8e CEPAC church.
And on Sunday 14 May, around 2pm, there was a third brutal attack in the same region. ADF militants set fire to a vehicle transporting fish. The driver and passenger were trapped in the car. The driver was 36-year-old Paluku Luc, who attended Pastor Bunvikane’s church. He leaves behind a wife and three children.
“Brother Luc was at the service on Sunday, before embarking on the Kasindi-Beni Road,” Pastor Bunvikane told an Open Doors local partner. “The ADF is killing God’s people.”
Understandably, the local Christian communities were left deeply afraid by these latest attacks. Open Doors local partners have shared how all local travel was suspended, since the roads were so dangerous. But on Tuesday 16 May, some Christians gathered together for morning worship.
“Today we thank the Lord, who is full of grace and never sleeps, because, at this moment, we see Christians returning to their activities by participating in morning worship and fellowship and listening to the Word of God”, Pastor Bunvikane shares.
Several local media and social media platforms have reported on the incident, but no action has yet been taken by local military forces. Earlier this month, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) committed to send troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo to help fight insecurity in eastern DRC.
Namibian President Hage Geingob, who chairs the section of the SADC leading on politics, security and defence, told media at the end of a special SADC meeting in Namibia’s capital Windhoek: “The summit reiterated SADC’s solidarity to assist the government and people of the Democratic Republic of Congo in its efforts to restore peace and stability in the eastern part of the country, particularly in light of the upcoming national elections scheduled for December 2023.”
Local Christians welcome this commitment to help ensure peace and stability, but also know that prayer is the most vital response to this continuing trend of violence. Please join our brothers and sisters in DRC in praying for God to intervene and end these assaults. Thank you for standing up to violent persecution with your gifts and prayers.
That all who are mourning will know God’s loving embrace and strength
Wisdom for Open Doors partners and for local politicians and decision makers.
For an end to militant violence, so Christians can live lives dedicated to God in peace
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