Stories

Church under siege in Congo—terrorist group pledges allegiance to ISIS

July 6, 2019 by Lindy Lowry in ,

Over the last six months, Christians in the North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have faced ongoing attacks. The rebel terrorist group Islamic Allied Democratic Forces (ADF)—which has claimed responsibility for the killings—has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (ISIS), confirming an Islamic expansionist agenda in the country. The country is one of the most Christianized countries in the world. Nearly 95 percent of the population are Christians.

In more than 20 recent ADF attacks from January to May, Open Doors’ contacts reported deaths of an estimated 90 people. ADF reportedly kidnapped at least 131 people and displaced around 12,000 individuals to IDP camps, schools or hosting families. The deaths leave behind large numbers of children and elderly who have been made even more vulnerable to starvation in already precarious circumstances.

In addition to the loss of life, mostly Christian civilians also suffered devastating economic losses as ADF looted and destroyed properties. At least six churches have been burned down and two church-run clinics and health centers have been destroyed.

Islamic caliphate in Congo

Three decades since its start in Uganda in the 1990s, the ADF is reported to be using terror tactics, including abductions and killings, to establish a caliphate in the conflict-ridden eastern province of North Kivu, where fighters claim to own land.

During an attack on the town of Kamango on April 17, ADF declared that North and South Kivu provinces are part of the caliphate they intend to create in the DRC. In the information circulated online and over the radio the group said:

  • The Mbau-Eringeti-Kamango triangle, which falls within the caliphate, hosts their training center.
  • They will no longer attack the local population but focus on the church and church institutions like hospitals, schools, businesses.
  • If anyone wants to be on good terms with them, the person should become a Muslim.

Pray with us for peace in the DRC and that God would change the attackers’ hearts. Pray for God’s comfort to all who are dealing with the loss of loved ones and for healing from trauma. Ask God to strengthen believers’ faith and that their pastors would also be united and courageous. Pray for God to meet the needs of every believer.

representative photo used for security reasons