They are facts—and a story—that we must pay attention to in the Central African country of 86.7 million, says Illia Djadi, Open Doors’ senior analyst for freedom of religion or belief in Sub-Saharan Africa. “The killing of innocent civilians on an almost daily basis is an underreported tragedy.” Since Dec. 31, more than 100 people have died.
- On December 31, 25 people were killed in an attack by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the village of Tingwe, also in the Beni region.
- On January 4, an estimated 22 civilians were killed in an overnight raid on the village of Mwenda, in the Beni region of neighboring North Kivu province. The attackers used guns and machetes, said Jeremi Mbweki, identified byReuters as a “civil society leader.” He said at least 17 more residents had been hacked to death in an attack on a nearby village the week before.
- On January 14, approximately 46 peoplebelonging to the Pygmy ethnic group, were killed in an attack by suspected militants of in Ituri province.
Because the DRC is 95 percent Christian, the majority of these deaths are believers, Djadi said.
“These predominantly Christian communities are attacked by an Islamic extremist group with a clear Islamic expansionist agenda.”
The DRC is No. 40 on Open Doors’ World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian, entering the list this year for the first time.