Insecurity persists in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with fighting continuing between government forces and M23 rebels, who have the backing of the Rwandan state. According to the BBC World Service Newsroom, M23 rebels regained control of the town of Kitshanga in North Kivu province on 21 October 2023 (BBC World Service, DRC, 21 October 2023). Meanwhile on the same day, as reported by Xinhua on 22 October 2023, helicopters belonging to Ugandan government forces launched an attack on an Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) camp 60km inside the DRC border.
World Watch Research analysts Yonas Dembele comments: “The involvement of external actors complicates the conflict dynamics, hampers efforts to restore peace in the region, and affects local populations who are caught in the crossfire. For Christian communities in eastern DRC, the persistent insecurity poses a unique set of challenges. They fear being specifically targeted by various militias, particularly Islamist groups like the ADF. This adds a dimension of religious persecution to the existing state of political instability, severely affecting the ability of Christians to practice their faith freely and safely.”