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'Horrifying': ISIS Kills 80 Christians, Decapitating Victims in Democratic Republic of Congo

Talia Wise : Jun 18, 2024  CBN News

"Christians are forced to flee and some churches in the affected villages have closed as a result of the latest attacks. These unabated attacks come at a time when Christian farmers were preparing for harvest. The impact is that many families are without means to feed their families..." -Open Doors US CEO, Ryan Brown

[CBN News] ISIS has claimed responsibility for recent attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that resulted in the death of more than 80 Christians and the closure of several churches in the nation. (Image: iStock-Naruedom)

The Islamic terrorist group said through a post on their Telegram channel, "More than 60 Christians were killed, including a Congolese army officer, in an attack by Caliphate soldiers in eastern Congo."

It was the latest in a series of attacks where jihadists with the ISIS-affiliated Allied Democratic Forces launched coordinated assaults in North Kivu province.

Agence France-Presse reports nearly 150 people have been killed by the group since the beginning of June, including on June 7th when at least 41 were killed, some of whom were found "tied up" and "decapitated."

A Congolese spokesperson told Reuters there were additional attacks in other areas including Masawu village on June 4 that left 15 dead, Mununze village where six were found dead in a river, and five bodies were found in Kabweli and Mamulese communities.

More than 120 terror groups "fight for power, land, and valuable mineral resources" in the DRC wreaking havoc in the region, African News reports.

"Terrorist groups are taking advantage of the chaos to expand their hold on an already very unstable region," EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Nabila Massrali told Reuters.

According to the outlet, the DRC government has not made a statement about the recent attacks.

"People have the impression, rightly or wrongly, of being abandoned to their sad fate," said former governor of North Kivu Julien Paluku on X.

Open Doors' World Watch List ranks the DRC as #41 among the nations where Christians face the most extreme persecution around the globe. 

Although Christians make up 95% of the national population, there are regions in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo that remain a key target of radical attackers, Open Doors explained in a statement.

The 2024 World Watch List for the DRC reveals that these acts of violence are comparatively deadlier and particularly more "aggressive in targeting Christians" than in previous years.

"Christians are forced to flee and some churches in the affected villages have closed as a result of the latest attacks. These unabated attacks come at a time when Christian farmers were preparing for harvest," shares Open Doors US CEO Ryan Brown. "The impact is that many families are without means to feed their families, and the unprepared displacement has put pressure on the livelihood of Christian families now on the move to unknown destinations."

According to a State Department report, more than 100 armed groups and local militias operate in eastern DRC.

In 2020, the ISIS affiliate (ADF) in North Kivu and Ituri provinces killed at least 849 men, women, and children in the region. According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED), the terror organization was responsible for over 1,000 reported fatalities in 2023.

"President Felix Tshisekedi has publicly described the ADF—known for its asymmetric-style attacks and large-scale, systemic violence against civilians—as 'terrorists' and noted they are a threat not only to the DRC but also to the broader region," reads a report from the US State Department.

"The rate at which Christian communities continue to be attacked in eastern DRC by the ADF is horrifying. These attacks continue unabated, displacing thousands of people from their homes, farmlands, and livelihoods," said Jo Newhouse, Open Doors field spokesperson for Sub-Saharan Africa.

"We call on the international community to do everything in its power to ensure the Government of DRC faithfully and transparently protects all affected communities and that the displaced receive the support they need in these circumstances," Newhouse added.

Pope Francis pleaded on Sunday for national and international authorities to step in and stop the bloodshed.

"Painful news continues to arrive of attacks and massacres carried out in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo," Francis told crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square for his Angelus message.

"I appeal to national authorities and the international community to do everything possible to stop the violence and safeguard the lives of civilians," he added. Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for CBNNews.com, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets.







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