Seventeen killed and dozens wounded in attack on evangelical church in DR Congo

A bomb exploded during a Sunday baptismal service. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State.

Evangelical Focus

Protestante Digital, Agencies · 16 JANUARY 2023 · 17:00 CET

Attack on a church in the Democratic Republic of Congo/Agenzia Fides,
Attack on a church in the Democratic Republic of Congo/Agenzia Fides

Seventeen people have been killed in a terrorist attack that has also left around 20 people seriously injured in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The bomb blast occurred during Sunday worship at a Pentecostal church in Kasindi (Eglise du Christ au Congo ECC) in the northern part of the country, near the Ugandan border.

A spokesman for the Ugandan military forces in Congo explained that the attack was claimed by the Allied Democratic Forces, the Islamic State's terrorist organisation in Central Africa. These attacks, which in many cases target Christians, are leading many Christians to emigrate.


Shocking testimonies

A deacon of the Kasindi evangelical church, Ezra Kambale Mupanya, said the congregation had gathered to celebrate baptisms.

"Several members of our church died instantly, others are mutilated forever," the 42-year-old man told the French news agency AFP. "God saved me and I came out uninjured, with the choir members. Today was not the day I was supposed to die", he added.

Another survivor, Jean-Paul Syauswa, said the explosion occurred just after a group of people were baptised, while a pastor was sharing Bible verses.

Kiza Kivua, a 50-year-old farmer who lost his brother in the attack, said he found it hard to accept the loss of a "loved one who went to church to pray". "How can this happen while Kasindi is full of soldiers," he lamented.

The DRC presidency condemned the attack, as did the UN peacekeeping mission, which described it as a "cowardly and despicable attack".


Terrorist activity in Africa on the rise

The action of violent radical Islamist groups is one of the biggest security challenges in many central African countries.

According to Ted Blake, director of Open Doors Spain, "radical Islamist terrorists have become stronger as they see the Talibans gaining control of Afghanistan without consequence".

"They are increasing their activities in countries such as Nigeria, Mali, Niger, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and other countries in order to destabilise governments and make it possible for them to take control, as the Taliban did".

This Wednesday, Open Doors will publish the World Watch List, which analyses the situation of violence and persecution of Christians around the world.

In recent years, the rise of radical Islamic violence is one of the most worrying factors for the safety of Christians in Asia and Africa.

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