Congo-Kinshasa (MNN) — Extremists bombed a Pentecostal church in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), killing 17 and wounding 39. The attack took place in the eastern Kasindi region.
Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs USA says, “On Sunday morning, during a worship celebration (in fact, there were 60 new baptisms at this church congregation that morning), a bomb went off in the service.”
The DRC military blamed a rebel group affiliated with the Islamic State. Nettleton says their goal is to set up a caliphate in the region, forcing everyone to live by their definition of sharia law. “The ADF forces will come into a village, gather people together, and ask, ‘Are you a Christian? Are you a Muslim?’ Oftentimes, the Christians are killed. Sometimes they are kidnapped. They are urged to convert to Islam.”
Nettleton expects to see more attacks against Christians in the eastern DRC. Islamic extremism is making inroads across Africa, working its way South.
Ask God to strengthen local Christians. Nettleton says, “After we pray, I think the thing that I would encourage people to do is just pay attention. Oftentimes, Africa seems 10,000 miles away, and it doesn’t get the media coverage that it deserves. An attack like this can happen and almost just go by without us even noticing.”
“Pay attention throughout this year and watch for attacks like this.”
If people in the eastern parts of the DRC do become Christians, they often face backlash from their communities. Nettleton says, “Once they reject Islam and choose to follow Christ, their job prospects disappear. Their school prospects disappear. There is an aspect of assisting people with life in addition to discipling them as followers of Christ.”