Eight dead after attack on Pentecostal church in DRC

DRC armed forces escort civilians from Beni to Komanda in 2022 (AFP or licensors)


  • At least eight are killed and thirty taken hostage in an attack in Beni, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Several villages in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the surrounding area were attacked on Tuesday, January 30, by armed men who executed civilians with bladed weapons.

The attacks have been attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces, a group affiliated with the so-called Islamic State.

Five of these were in prayer in a church belonging to the Branhamist Pentecostal community. “Eight bodies of civilians killed by ADF rebels have been deposited at the morgue” of the Oicha hospital, including “five Branhmanist Christians killed during worship” said Nicolas Kikuku, the mayor of the Oicha commune, a city in the Beni territory.

“The enemies executed them,” stressed the mayor, adding that several other people are missing. Darius Syahira, the local civil society spokesman, confirmed the attack and stated that the bodies were in the morgue.
30 people taken hostage

Other local sources reported that 30 people were taken hostage by the assailants, who are known to make incursions into eastern DRC, burning houses, killing residents, and stealing goods.

On Saturday, January 27, other sources reported 32 people killed, including five parishioners beheaded in a church, during attacks in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). These attacks, too, were attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Islamic State group.
Instability lasting over 30 years

The provinces of North Kivu and Ituri have been under a state of emergency since 2021, a measure that replaced civilian authorities with military administration to combat armed groups.

Originally formed by Ugandan Muslim rebels, the ADF has been present in eastern DRC since the mid-1990s, and has killed several thousand civilians.

In 2019, the rebels pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS), which describes them as its “Central Africa Province.” In late 2021, Kampala and Kinshasa launched a joint military operation against the ADF, named “Shujaa,” but the rebels continue their atrocities. In December 2023, they were accused of launching two attacks in western Uganda, killing 13 people.

The DRC, coming out of a tense electoral period, has experienced a few weeks of calm in its eastern provinces, which have faced chronic instability for over three decades. However, deadly attacks have now resumed in the Beni territory, where five civilians were killed on January 23 in an attack claimed by the ADF.

News agencies contributed to this report

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