Thirteen civilians and three soldiers are dead after a suspected Islamic extremist group raid in the northeastern Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
An military spokesperson said that Islamic terrorist group Allied Democratic Forces was behind the deadly massacre in Ndakya village and the arson of a Catholic church. However, the group's involvement has not yet been confirmed.
Coordinator of the Convention for the Respect of Human Rights Christophe Munyanderu, said that gunmen had opened fire upon entering the village Sunday morning.
According to International Christian Concern's Regional Manager for Africa Nathan Johnson, ADF is one of the largest, most active militant groups and is thought to have ties to the Islamic State terrorist organization.
"The attacks are daily," said Johnson. "There is vast underreporting."
Johnson said he believes that the majority of the attacks are meant to "terrorize people and gain power in the area," adding that "those rebel groups are just creating chaos, but people don't know that because nobody reports on it."
DRC is ranked number 40 for Christian persecution on the 2021 Open Doors USA World Watch List due to Islamic oppression, marking the first time DRC has ranked in the top 50.
"These predominantly Christian communities are attacked by an Islamic extremist group with a clear Islamic expressionist agenda," said Open Doors' Senior Analyst for Freedom of Religion or Belief in Sub-Saharan South Africa Illia Djadi. "We need to pay attention to these events because what's happening in eastern DRC, the killing of innocent civilians on an almost daily basis, is an underreported tragedy."