Violent Attack Renews Fears in Beni
Join us in prayer for the dangerous situation in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Suspected Islamic militant rebels of the Islamist Allied Democratic Forces-National Association for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF) massacred at least 36 civilians near Beni during the night on Saturday, August 13. According to an army spokesperson, the attack came in revenge for army operations in the area.
World Watch Monitor reports that Islamic militants have murdered more than 1,000 people in eastern DRC since October 2014, according to local civil society organizations. The ADF has undertaken a relentless drive to uproot Christians from the northeast area of DRC through violent attacks, rape, looting, kidnap and murder. After a failed attempt to overthrow Uganda’s government and replace it with an Islamist fundamentalist state, the ADF retreated over the border into DRC and began a bloody campaign in the northeastern region.
This latest massacre comes on the heels of an August 7 raid on a Protestant mission in Oicha, North Kivu in which two Christians were killed. In early July, a stealthy night attack on Tenambo, Nzanza and Mamiki communities, near Oicha, left nine Christians dead as ADF rebels armed with guns and machetes looted homes, taking food and cattle as plunder. The recent attacks have been devastating for North Kivu province, which is still reeling in the wake of twin ADF attacks on May 3 and May 6 when militants took the lives of nearly 50 people in the predominantly Christian North Kivu province.
One of the lightning-fast attacks occurred within close proximity to a DRC military base and a UN peacekeeping base, causing locals to again question the government’s ability and will to protect citizens in the vulnerable North Kivu state. Many churches across North Kivu have been forced to close and local Christians live with constant uncertainty. Pastor Jean shared with World Watch Monitor that “We do not understand why this is happening to us. The rebels just take people into the bush to kill them or kidnap them. They attack one place for a while and cause people to run away. Then they strike the places people run to.”
Pray for renewed courage and strength for the beleaguered Christians in the DRC, and for Congolese President Joseph Kabila to be moved to act decisively to protect civilian lives and drive out this militant group.
Father God, we too grieve over the epidemic of violence in the DRC. We want to dash in and find a way to help, to make the attacks stop, to gather the people in our arms and protect them. But we cannot. Only You can do this and so we turn to You to comfort them in ways that are beyond our understanding, and theirs. We know that one day justice will be restored on earth, but we pray for a measure of justice for these people now. Motivate and strengthen President Kabila to act in decisive ways to protect his people, Your people, and drive out those who would destroy Your church. They mean it for evil, but You can work it for good, to strengthen Your church and to bring about the redemption of many. And so we pray now in the Name of Jesus, who suffered injustice on our behalf that we might be one with You and know the comfort and strength of Your presence in the face of our own suffering. Amen.