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February 18, 2021 » Today News » /

Christians in the Democratic Republic of Congo face growing terrorist violence

Christians in the Democratic Republic of Congo face growing terrorist violence

 Affected Countries: democratic-republic-of-congo;

Spiraling Islamist terrorism that has killed more than 100 people in a two-week span in the Democratic Republic of Congo is calling renewed attention to Christian persecution there.

The terrorist group Allied Democratic Forces is blamed for the deaths in at least three attacks in late December and early January in efforts to establish a Muslim caliphate in the predominantly Christian country, Open Doors reported.

“The killing of innocent civilians on an almost daily basis is an underreported tragedy,” Open Doors senior analyst Illia Djadi said after the attacks spanning Dec. 31-Jan. 14. “It is a reminder of what is happening in other parts of the central Sahel region.”

Djadi compares the violence to that spreading across the Sahel region of northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram and related extremists are blamed for 37,500 deaths since 2011, according to a new report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

“Think of groups like Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria for example,” said Djadi, who covers freedom of religion or belief in Sub-Saharan Africa for Open Doors. “The ideology, the agenda of establishing a ‘caliphate’ in the region, and the way they operate is the same, and we can see how they afflict terrible suffering on innocent people.”

ADF has been active in Congo for decades, but its expansion led Open Doors to include Congo for the first time this year on its World Watch List of the 50 most dangerous countries for Christians.

Congo, which is 95 percent Christian, debuted at number 40, mainly ranked for violence, persecution against churches and social persecution against Muslims to convert to Christianity.

“The attacks from the ADF and other militant groups in the DRC are why violence is a huge risk for the Christian population and churches in the regions where militants are active,” Open Doors said in its 2021 Watch List.

“The violence has resulted in more than a million internally displaced people. Additionally, followers of Jesus are at risk for kidnappings and having their homes destroyed.”

Source: Baptist Standard