By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
KINSHASA (Worthy News) - At least a dozen Christians were killed by Islamist militants in a northeastern village of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Christian aid workers told Worthy News.
The attack Sunday, April 3, in Masambo village in DRC’s North Kivu province was reportedly carried out by the Islamist terror group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Worthy News learned.
“A church leader in neighboring Uganda confirmed that the ADF is “mercilessly killing Christians,” said Christian aid and advocacy group Barnabas Fund. An exact death toll wasn’t precise yet as investigations continued.
The church leader “added that many people are fleeing north-eastern DRC and seeking refuge in western Uganda,” Barnabas Fund told Worthy News.
The killings came after ADF leader Musa Baluku reportedly renewed his fighters’ allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group in a video released on April 1. His footage followed the appointment of the Iraqi-born Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi as the new leader of IS in March.
The violence, details of which just emerged, are part of attacks across North Kivu and its neighboring province of Ituri, much of it carried out by Islamists, Barnabas Fund said.
Last month, more than 50 people in Ituri and at least 30 in North Kivu were reportedly killed in attacks by the ADF.
The two provinces were placed in a state of emergency, known as a “state of siege,” by DRC President Felix Tshisekedi in May last year, which has yet to be lifted, activists noted.
The ADF, also known as Islamic State Central Africa Province, was designated a terrorist organization by the United States in March 2021. In April of that year, Christian leaders in DRC warned of ADF’s strategy to “kidnap and force victims to join the Islamic faith,” Barnabas Fund said.
The group said it had asked supporters to pray for their Christian “brothers and sisters in north-eastern DRC, asking for the Lord's hand of protection over them.”
Barnabas Fund stressed it was crucial “that Islamist extremism and other forms of violence in this troubled region will be brought to an end.” The group expressed concern about churches in western Uganda “as they seek to help thousands of refugees who have fled across the border.”