The eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a dangerous place for Christians right now. Rebel groups are fighting for control of the area, including an Islamic extremist group, known as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which openly and brutally targets Christian homes and churches.
Christians in this area live with the threat of kidnapping, and terrible violence is commonplace. The ADF kidnaps women, rapes them and forces them to marry their soldiers, with Christian women sometimes being kept as a kind of 'trophy'.
There is little chance of justice through the legal system in DRC. Many Christians have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in friendlier villages. Open Doors partners are providing emergency aid for displaced people through local churches.
People who have become Christians from Muslim or indigenous backgrounds face pressure to still participate in traditional religious activities. At the most extreme end of the scale, women who have converted to Christianity may be forcibly married, impregnated or divorced.
Throughout DRC, Christian leaders who speak out against corruption experience harassment and interference from the government.
Christians in Ituri province and North Kivu in the east of DRC face persecution from the ADF – a rebel group with an Islamic extremist agenda. They openly target local Christians in this area – men, women, girls and church leaders. Converts from Islam or from indigenous faiths are particularly vulnerable to persecution.
“I say thank you for the work that your organisation has done through the local church.”Joie, displaced by ADF persecution, receiving aid in Komanda village
Violence remains rampant, and pressure against Christians has slightly increased in the past year, particularly in church life. This reflects the threats from Islamic militants, particularly in the east of the country where churches have been under repeated attack. Organised crime and corruption also make church and community life extremely difficult.
Open Doors works through local partners to support Christians in Democratic Republic of the Congo through persecution survival training, economic empowerment projects and trauma care.
Father God, we long to see an end to the violence and lawlessness affecting Christians in eastern DRC. Please help the authorities to bring a lasting peace. We pray for great wisdom and courage for the church leaders there as they minister to the traumatised and displaced and advise their people how to face this persecution. Bring Your healing to all those who have suffered. Amen.