DRC and Nigeria: Endless massacres against Christians

DRC and Nigeria: Endless massacres against Christians

Sawako Utsumi and Sawako Uchida

Modern Tokyo Times

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Nigeria, Christians are being killed by Islamic terrorist groups in high numbers. The crisis in Nigeria is more complex. Accordingly, anti-Christian massacres in Nigeria are committed by terrorist groups – and ordinary Muslims oppressing Christian communities.

A Christian church leader in Butembo (Mulinde Esemo) said Christians were being slaughtered by Islamic terrorists in the DRC – like people butcher animals.

Mulinde Esemo uttered, “We are living in a very tense situation here in Eastern DRC, both in towns and in the villages. Scores of believers have been killed in cold blood by the ADF rebels. It is a massacre like one killing animals.” 

The Allied Democratic Forces (an Islamist terrorist group that originates from Uganda) pledges loyalty to ISIS (Islamic State – IS) in the DRC. Accordingly, Christians have been burnt alive and hacked to death by machetes – and other brutal ADF methods.

Last month, 17 Christians were killed in the Kaduna State in Nigeria. Christians have been butchered in the Middle Belt region for many years.

The Catholic Herald reports, “Over 7,600 Nigerian Christians were murdered between January 2021 and June 2022, according to one analysis. Two major incidents of Christian persecution in the country made international news during 2022, by no means exhaustive of the troubles facing Africa’s arguably most unstable state. First was the stoning to death and setting alight of 25-year-old Deborah Samuel in May, after she had shared “blasphemous” messages on WhatsApp. Second was the deadly attack on St Francis Xavier’s Church in Owo, Ondo State, during Mass on Pentecost Sunday, killing over 40 innocent civilians.” 

The Catholic News Agency also reports on recent massacres during the Easter Period (2023).

This news agency says, “At least 94 people reportedly have died in a series of deadly attacks on Christian communities throughout Holy Week in Benue state in north-central Nigeria, an ominous sign of escalating violence blamed on Muslim militias in the country’s Middle Belt region.”

Lee Jay Walker says, “Ethnic massacres also blight the DRC and Nigeria. However, apart from a few religious massacres that garner international attention: the Islamist angle is played down. Therefore, it appears that the international community is reluctant to tackle this issue of anti-Christian pogroms by Muslims in several nations.”

In another massacre by the ADF in the eastern part of the DRC, at least 20 people were butchered in the village of Musandaba.

Voice of America reports, “The attack, which took place on Friday in Musandaba, a village on the outskirts of Beni, is part of a wave of violence against civilians that the army and local authorities blame on the Allied Democratic Forces, a Ugandan group based in eastern Congo that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State.”

Bintou Keita, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC, said: “The intensification of the conflict with the M23 and the persistent activism of other armed groups, including the ADF, Zaire, and CODECO, to name a few, continue to inflict intolerable suffering on the civilian population.”

Christian refugees from the DRC and Nigeria need to be given international priority concerning refugee status. Therefore, refugee-friendly nations must provide a haven from endless massacres against the embattled Christians of the DRC and Nigeria.

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