January 17, 2023

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Christian Church Bombing That Killed 17 On Sunday Morning.

Al Jazeera English published January 15, 2023: Church bomb attack kills several in eastern DR Congo. At least twelve people have been killed in a church attack in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The explosion, which wounded 52 others, including children, happened in the city of Kasindi in North Kivu province.
UBC Television Uganda published January 16, 2023: Pentecostal church bombed in DRC - Ugandan forces on high alert. A suspected bomb explosion has killed 10 and injured over 40 people in the Eastern DR Congo near Mpondwe border post with Uganda. Though no terrorism group has claimed responsibility of the attack; it is suspected the attack was executed by the ADF.

written by International Christian Concern staff
Tuesday January 17, 2023

Suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels detonated a homemade IED, killing at least 17 and injuring dozens more at a church in Kasindi, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo Sunday morning. Hundreds of Christians were gathered for prayer and baptism when the blast went off at 11 a.m.

One of the first responders, a pastor of a nearby church, reported the attack to International Christian Concern (ICC).

“The church next door has been attacked,” he said. “We heard a loud blast while in the middle of our service and dashed out to see what was going on. The area was chaotic since the believers were screaming, and smoke filled the whole place. We stopped what we were doing and came here to help. We knew it was an attack, so we carefully approached the scene.”

He continued, “Limbs and other body parts are scattered everywhere as more dead bodies are being retrieved from the rubble. Many people have been injured, and they are being evacuated. We are not able to ascertain how this attack happened or how many Christians have been killed, but I can confirm that this is a gruesome terrorist attack.”

A survivor spoke to ICC, saying, “The attack was the last thing we ever thought would happen in our church today.”

Volunteers informed us that dozens of injured survivors were admitted to different hospitals in Kasindi.

“The scene of the incident has been cordoned off to allow experts to save more lives and calm the survivors, but we are moving between hospitals to help where we can. So far, 15 people have been confirmed dead, and several are in critical condition. Others do not have legs and hands. We aren’t sure if they will survive,” said the local pastor.

Over the years, Kasindi, a town near the Uganda border in the Eastern region of Nord Kivu, has never been hit by insecurity posed by the Congolese Islamic rebels, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), due to the highest presence of security officers.

The Community of Pentecostal Churches in Central Africa (CEPAC) was gathering for the New Year’s prayer meeting and baptism of 60 new converts.

“We are in deep shock and confusion,” said one survivor. “We were on our third and last day of the New Year’s prayers and service to witness the baptism of sixty new Christians from our different branches. The church was filled to capacity, and others were seated outside. I survived because I was sitting on the other side of the congregation, right opposite the side where the bomb exploded. It threw the people up and sideways and killed about ten people on the spot.”

The Anglican archdeacon and the leader of the pastor’s fellowship in Kasindi, Reverend Kasereka, consoled with the victims and families that lost dear ones, urging Christians in Kasindi to remain calm and vigilant as the government fights the terror meted by the rebels that hate God and Christianity.

He said, “This has happened when we least expected it, but it is a reminder that the enemy lives within us and we need to remain in prayer and hold unwaveringly to the hope we have in Christ.”
[photo source: VOA News]

VOA News
written by Associated Press
Monday January 16, 2023

KASINDI, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO — Islamic extremists claimed responsibility Monday for a bombing of a church in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as authorities said that the toll from Sunday's attack had risen to at least 14 dead.

The Islamic State group and its Aamaq news outlet issued statements saying that its militants had planted an explosive device inside the Pentecostal church in Kasindi and detonated it while people were praying.

“Let the Congolese forces know that their continued attacks on the Mujahideen will only bring them more failure and losses," the group said in its statement.

The extremists claimed the bomb killed 20 Christians. Congolese authorities put the toll Monday at 14 dead and at least 63 wounded.

The injured were evacuated to Beni General Hospital by the U.N. peacekeeping mission known as MONUSCO, authorities said.

Violence has wracked eastern Congo for decades as more than 120 armed groups and self-defense militias fight for land and power. Nearly 6 million people are internally displaced, and hundreds of thousands are facing extreme food insecurity, according to the U.N.

Fighters with the Allied Democratic Forces, a rebel organization which is believed to have links to the Islamic State group, have carried out several attacks in Kasindi, which is located on the border with Uganda.

Troops from Uganda’s army have deployed to eastern Congo to try to stem the violence, but the attacks have increased and spread.

ADF attacks since April have killed at least 370 civilians and involved the abduction of several hundred more, a report by the United Nations last month said.

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