Islamic extremists attacked the village of Masambo in North Kivu province in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on April 3, the Barnabas Fund reported Thursday.
The raid by jihadists from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group allied with the Islamic State, is just one episode in a deluge of Islamist violence across North Kivu and its neighboring province of Ituri, Barnabas noted in an email Tuesday.
“It’s a miracle that I survived,” said Masambo resident Kakule Saanane. “We were already in bed when we heard the sound of boots outside and bullets. It was after hearing the cries of the victims that we understood that it was a rebel raid.
Saanane said 21 bodies were found following the attack, which was carried out with machetes and guns; the figure has since risen to 28.
The ADF carried out a series of attacks in several villages in March 2022, killing more than 50 people in Ituri and at least 30 others in North Kivu.
In May 2021, DRC President Felix Tshisekedi declared the two provinces to be in a “state of siege”, a situation that continues to this day.
A church leader in neighboring Uganda, the birthplace of the ADF, said jihadists are “ruthlessly killing Christians” and many people are fleeing the DRC and seeking refuge in western Uganda. Africa News notes that in December Uganda sent more than 1,000 troops to assist the Congolese army in its fight against ADF rebels in the region.
The Barnabas Fund, a charity that helps persecuted Christians, has called for prayers for Christians in northeastern DRC, “asking for the Lord’s hand of protection upon them”.
“Pray for an end to Islamist extremism and other forms of violence in this troubled region. Also pray for the churches in western Uganda as they seek to help thousands of refugees who have crossed the border,” the group asked.