In the past month, at least 100 people have been killed by an Islamic extremist group in a series of attacks in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to a report by Open Doors. A large number of those killed were Christians.
Attacked with machetes and guns
The charitys says on 14 January, approximately 46 people were killed in Ituri province by militants who are believed to be part of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The community that was attacked belongs to the Pygmy ethnic group – there are about half a million people belonging to this ethnic group in DRC, and they face extensive persecution and discrimination.
On 4 January, an estimated 22 civilians were killed in an overnight raid on the village of Mwenda, in the Beni region of neighbouring North Kivu province. A community leader reported that guns and machetes were used, and that at least 17 nearby villagers had been murdered with machetes a week earlier. Around the same time, the ADF killed another 25 people in the village of Tingwe, in the same region. Unlike the Ituri province attack, most of those killed in these three attacks were Christians.
“These predominantly Christian communities are attacked by an Islamic extremist group with a clear Islamic expansionist agenda,” says Illia Djadi, an Open Doors spokesperson on freedom of religion or belief in sub-Saharan Africa. “It is a reminder of what is happening in other parts of the central Sahel region – groups like Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria, for example. The ideology, the agenda of establishing a ‘caliphate’ in the region, and the way they operate is the same, and we can see how they afflict terrible suffering on innocent people.”
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SOURCE: Assist News Service