At least 30 Christians were killed, and ten young women and girls raped, in a string of attacks on five villages in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by jihadi terrorists.
Extremist rebel group, The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), raided the villages in North Kivu province, north-eastern DRC, between 20 November and 3 December.
Local reports described scenes of terrified Christians flooding into the streets as the jihadists surrounded churches in each of the five villages armed with guns, machetes, clubs, swords and axes.
Fourteen Christians were admitted to hospital in a critical condition with injuries including severe wounds to the head, legs, arms and hands.
At least 15 people were abducted from two of the churches.
A Christian survivor, who witnessed an attack on his village in the early hours of 22 November, explained that through the vent in the latrine, where he was hiding, he could see the militants murder his wife and three children.
In Mayitike, the worst hit of the villages, a pastor lost all five members of his family in a militia attack. He said that the militants had tried to force villagers to convert to Islam before killing them. “They also tried to force my wife and our four children to convert to Islam, but when they refused to convert, they shot my wife in the head while our four children were cut into pieces with a sword,” said the pastor.
Regional security officers confirmed reports that the jihadists targeted Christians and killed those who refused to convert to Islam.
More than 20 people were killed and a number abducted in a suspected ADF militant attack in North Kivu province on 30 October. The terror group is also suspected of carrying out several atrocities in Ituri province, neighbouring North Kivu, including the murder of at least 58 people in attacks on two villages in September 2020.
The ADF, which is believed to have close ties to IS, has been active in the north-east of Christian-majority DRC for more than two decades, with violence surging since October 2019 when the army launched a large-scale offensive against the group.