Church minister among 55 killed in Islamist attack in Democratic Republic of Congo

7 June 2021

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A Church minister was among at least 55 people killed in Islamist attacks on camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

IDP camps were targeted in both Irumu territory, Ituri province, and Tchabi, North Kivu province. As well as those killed an unknown number of people were abducted.

The attacks on 31 May was carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an extremist group originating in Uganda with suspected ties to Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL or Daesh).

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that there are around half a million IDPs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

According to Barnabas Fund sources the Islamists were targeting the Christian-majority Banyali Tchabi ethnic group (also known as the Nyali). Nyali people are regularly attacked by ADF and others because their lands are rich with gold deposits.   

The attacks were condemned by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who in a statement issued through his spokesperson called “on the Congolese authorities to investigate these incidents and bring those responsible to justice”.

The ADF was designated a terrorist organisation by the United States in March 2021. In April Christian leaders in DRC warned of ADF’s strategy to “kidnap and force victims to join the Islamic faith”.

The Islamist group, which has been active in the mainly Christian north-east of the DRC for over 20 years, killed more than 20 people and desecrated a church building in attacks on North Kivu province in October 2020.

From Barnabas Fund contacts and other sources

Related Countries

Democratic Republic of Congo