Church Minister Among 55 Killed in Islamist Attack in Democratic Republic of Congo

June 7, 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 May 31 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 there are around half a million IDPs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

According to Barnabas Aid 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 U.N. 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 U.S. 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 northeast 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 Aid contacts and other sources

Related Countries

Democratic Republic of Congo