The heavily forested, mineral-rich, north-east region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which borders South Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda, has long been wracked with insecurity. Numerous armed groups, especially an Islamist group called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), have inflicted immense suffering on the predominantly Christian communities of this region.
The ADF was formed in 1989, with the original purpose of establishing Islamic rule in Uganda. It committed several terrorist attacks before the Ugandan army drove it out of Uganda and into the DRC in 2002. Since then it has killed thousands of Congolese, repeatedly targeting Christians. The DRC is about 90% Christian.
At least 58 people were killed and 17 kidnapped when Muslim militants attacked two villages in north-eastern Ituri province in September 2020, and at least 57 people were murdered in the same province the previous May. Since 2017, villagers in this region have suffered waves of murderous attacks by jihadists, with more than 700 people killed in Ituri province alone.
On 29 January 2020 Ngulongo Year Batsemire (aged 60), a church leader, was martyred after he refused the demands of jihadists that he convert to Islam. The militants had also demanded that he tell them where they could find other pastors. Around the same time, ADF militants murdered at least 30 other people in night-time raids on four villages.
The area has seen a surge of violence since October 2019, when the Congolese army launched a large-scale offensive against the Islamist militants. Every time the army mount an operation against the ADF, civilians are attacked afterwards by the ADF as retribution.
UNICEF reported in October 2020 that over 1.6 million people were internally displaced in the north-east of DRC.
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.
The above content can also be found in the Praying for the Persecuted Church (2021-2022) booklet