Islamic extremists kill 30 Christians, rape multiple women in DRC

Three Congolese ride a motorbike and carry a cross for a grave along the road linking Mangina to Beni on August 23, 2018, in Mangina, in the North Kivu province. | JOHN WESSELS/AFP via Getty Images

Jihadi terrorists killed at least 30 Christians, raped 10 young women and girls, and abducted several others from churches in a string of attacks on villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to the Barnabas Fund, the Allied Democratic Forces, an organization that aligns itself with the Islamic State terrorist group, raided five villages in North Kivu province, northeastern DRC, between Nov. 20 and Dec. 3.

Jihadis armed with guns, machetes, clubs, swords and axes reportedly surrounded churches in each of the five villages. Local authorities confirmed reports that the terrorists targeted Christians, killing those who refused to convert to Islam.

At least 15 people were abducted from two churches, while 14 other Christians were transported to a hospital and reported as being in critical condition and suffering from severe injuries.

One Christian survivor witnessed the murder of his wife and three children as he hid in a bathroom. In another village, a pastor lost all five members of his family who were slaughtered after they refused to convert to Islam. 

“They also tried to force my wife and our four children to convert to Islam, but when they refused to convert, they shot my wife in the head while our four children were cut into pieces with a sword,” the pastor said.

Led by Musa Baluku, the ADF has become the DRC’s most active and violent terrorist group over the past two years. The group is known for committing crimes such as murder, rape, and abduction of women and children, as well as slavery and indoctrination.

Attacks against Christians in the DRC have increased since October 2019, when the Congolese Army launched an operation against the ADF’s leaders and bases in the jungle around the city of Beni.

In response, the jihadist group intensified its campaign of massacres in rural areas, predominantly targeting Christians, who make up 95% of the population. 

In late October, more than 20 people were killed and many others were abducted in a suspected ADF militant attack in North Kivu province. The terror group is also suspected of carrying out several atrocities in Ituri province, including the murder of at least 58 people in attacks on two villages in September.

According to the Kivu Security Tracker, a research initiative that maps unrest in Eastern Congo, the group has kidnapped 5,361 people since 2017 and violently killed at least 3,971 people.

In over 20 attacks between January and May, an estimated 90 people were killed, including a 9-year-old child and an Anglican pastor. At least 131 people have been kidnapped and over 12,000 individuals displaced, including children and the elderly. 

Persecution watchdog Open Doors USA notes that the atrocities committed against Christians in DRC are causing displacement, poverty, desperation, and many health and psychological problems. The violence has also negatively impacted church life.

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