The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a Christian-majority (around 90%) land of great suffering. The country suffers continual violence caused by the ongoing conflict between the rebel Congolese Revolutionary Army (also known as M23) and the DRC government. Christians also suffer from Islamist brutality.
Islamist violence is most acute in the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu in north-eastern DRC, which have been in an official state of emergency since May 2021. Here Christian communities are targeted by jihadi group the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), thought to be linked to Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh).
In March, April and May 2022 at least 136 people were killed by ADF jihadists in the two provinces. In October 2022 a pastor was among 11 people killed in an ADF attack on a Christian village.
The persistent violence has forced many to flee over the border into Uganda. In April 2022 a Ugandan church leader said that Islamists were “mercilessly killing Christians” in DRC. Twelve months earlier a church leader had warned of ADF’s strategy to “kidnap and force victims to join the Islamic faith”.
DRC has rich mineral deposits, including the world’s largest reserves of cobalt, but this has become the cause of much hardship rather than prosperity. Desperately impoverished people risk their lives in dangerous unofficial mines trying to find the cobalt. Even the official, regulated mines are highly unsafe. Child labour is common – of 255,000 miners in the DRC it is estimated that 40,000 are children.
The mines remain places of violence – church leaders who seek to minister to the miners face fearful reprisals if they are seen to disrupt work. Efforts to reform the sector have led to little if any change.
Ask the Lord to bring to an end jihadi violence in DRC, so that Christian communities can live and worship in peace. Pray for the success of efforts to reform and better regulate mining.
Ask the Lord to thwart the ADF’s plans to terrorise and Islamise Christians in the north-east of DRC. Pray that Christians will be given grace to forgive their persecutors and church leaders equipped to lead and minister to God’s persecuted people.