ISIS Murders Christians in the DRC

~ Open Doors Statement on ISIS Murder of Christians in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ~

 A recent ISIS attack in the Democratic Republic of Congo resulted in more than 80 Christians murdered in the Masala area of Beni. While these attacks are not new, the 2024 World Watch List dossier for the DRC reveals that these acts of violence are comparatively deadlier and particularly more “aggressive in targeting Christians” than in previous years.

Over 80 Christians Killed in Recent Attacks on Democratic Republic of Congo

According to ACLED(Armed Conflict Location and Event Data), “the ADF (Islamic State-affiliated Allied Democratic Forces) remains the most deadly threat to civilians in DRC and was responsible for over 1,000 reported fatalities in 2023. Strategic ADF positions in DRC also allowed for increased cross-border attacks into Uganda compared to the previous year, with fatalities arising from cross-border violence doubling in 2023.”

“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.”

The displacement crisis in DRC is ranked by the Norwegian Refugee Council as the 3rd most neglected crisis in the world; the lack of media attention, political will and funding from donor nations contribute to the crises going largely unnoticed and unaddressed. 

“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.”

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. The primary threats to Christians there are oppression from Islamic groups, organized corruption and crime, dictatorial paranoia and clan abuse from a portion of more than 100 local armed groups, some of whom specifically target followers of Jesus. This leaves Christians and churches in this part of the country vulnerable to attacks, including through the following forms of persecution:

  • Murder
  • Abduction
  • Sexual violence 
  • Targeted attacks on those who speak out against the violence
  • Displacement due to violence

In response, Open Doors continues working through local partners to support Christians in the DRC through persecution survival training, economic empowerment projects and trauma care, magnifying local ministry efforts amid this tragedy. For more information on Christian persecution in the DRC and Open Doors’ mission in this nation, visit: https://www.opendoorsus.org/en-US/persecution/countries/drc/.

Open Doors US CEO Ryan Brown and DRC Representative Illia Djadi are each available to speak on this crisis and Open Doors’ continued efforts in ministry, urging fellow believers to spread awareness and pray for these brothers and sisters at this time.

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