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Editorial: African Christians “targeted” by Islamic State

1 August 2023

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A recent update from a US-based global security research group has provided further evidence that Christians in sub-Saharan Africa are being targeted by Islamic State (IS – also known as ISIS, ISIL, Daesh).

The “Terrorism Monitor” report from The Jamestown Foundation referred specifically to attacks carried out by jihadi group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which comprises one half of Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP).

Of three attacks claimed by the ADF in the first week of July, two “targeted Christians”, and resulted in the death of 17 Christians in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces of north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) fighters in Mozambique [Image credit: Institute for Security Studies] 

ADF fighters based in the DRC also carried out the Kasese school massacre in western Uganda, in which more than 40 people – most of them Christian school pupils – were slaughtered.

Although this incident has not been formally claimed by the ADF, it can be added to the list of IS terrorist attacks on Christian communities.

Meanwhile, the Mozambique-based Cabo Ligado conflict research group has also drawn attention to the risks posed to Christians by IS terrorism.

According to a report on the Cabo Ligado website, fighters from IS Mozambique (which is the other half of ISCAP) captured two fishermen on 9 July. One was a Muslim, so the terrorists let him go. The other was a Christian – he was beheaded.

The growth in violent Islamism in sub-Saharan Africa is a threat to people of all religions and none, including Muslims who have no interest in violent jihadism and wish to live at peace with their neighbours.

Yet here is more evidence that Christians are among those who are particularly vulnerable and in particular need of protection.