Christians in the town of Oicha in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are reeling after at least 39 people, including children, were killed in recent incidents.
On Tuesday, 24 October, armed men stormed a Christian neighbourhood in Oicha, North Kivu province. “When the people heard gunshots at the beginning, they thought thieves had come into the village, which is not unusual,” shares Mumbere, a local Christian youth leader, “But when the cracking of bullets lasted for an hour, they then knew it was the ADF [Allied Democratic Forces, which has links to so-called Islamic State].”
At least 35 bodies, including those of 12 children, have been identified. “Many of these people are Christians; they were servants of God, and some were teachers in our schools,” continues Mumbere.
Doubt and Despair for Christians
“The Christian population of Oicha is in despair and disillusionment,” says a field source, “They are losing hope… some Christians are questioning God’s promises to His children. This situation, like previous incidents, can cause Christians to resort to traditional religions in search of protection for their families.”
“We call on the whole world to pray for us.”
This incident is amongst many in the eastern North Kivu province of DRC, making it a place of extreme danger for Christians to live. The country is number 37 on the World Watch List and one of many countries in sub-Saharan Africa where believers are experiencing increased persecution by Islamic militants.
The escalating insecurity in the DRC has forced 6.9 million people to be internally displaced, according to the UN’s International Organisation for Migration. According to their report, the security situation – particularly in North Kivu and Ituri – continues to deteriorate, bringing more displacement and rising humanitarian needs.
“We call on the whole world to pray for us, for the territory of Beni and the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri,” adds local pastor Reverend Gabriel.
“Really pray for us so that everything (the funerals) can happen in peace, and pray for the situation we are going through, because the fear increased when the enemies entered the city,” adds Pastor Paluka, a lecturer at the Biblical Institute in Oicha. “Your prayers are very important to us at this time when we are going through pain.”
Pray for the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- That God’s comfort and peace will be poured into all those affected by these recent attacks
- That church leaders will be given wisdom as they seek to pastor Christians during this awful time
- For the protection of believers in North Kivu province
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