How many Christians are there in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?
An enormous percentage of the population of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are Christians – 87.8 million from a population of 92.3 million (95 per cent).
How are Christians persecuted in DRC?
Persecution in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) mostly takes the form of violent attacks. Although a very high percentage of the population are Christian, the Islamic extremist group Alliance for Democratic Forces (ADF) is responsible for the persecution of Christians in the east of the country, brutally attacking Christians and churches. Christian leaders who advocate against corruption risk harassment and interference from the government.
Converts both from Islam and from indigenous religions face pressure to take part in non-Christian religious activities and ceremonies.
Christian women in DRC are vulnerable to abduction, rape, sexual torture and forced labour. There are reports of many Christian women and girls, particularly those who've converted from Islam, being abducted and forcibly married. Due to the shame of sexual violence, Christian women and girls may face isolation and rejection from their families and communities following an attack. The persecution faced by Christian men is usually extremely violent, and there is little chance of legal justice when these terrible things happen. The targeting of Christian men also serves to weaken their families and the wider church.
“I am pleased to know that people are praying for me, for God to comfort me and my children.”Georgine, whose husband was killed for his faith
What’s life like for Christians in DRC?
When Georgine waved goodbye to her husband Dieudonne – a 30-year-old teacher at a church school – the morning of 4 January 2020, she had no idea that she would never see him again.
“Dieudonne went to the farm to harvest palm nuts. He asked me to join him after I had finished cooking for the children who were still at school,” Georgine explains. “I arrived at the farm only to find his bicycle abandoned along the road. I called his name, but no one responded.” Dieudonne’s body was found a few days later. He had been killed by the ADF.
The couple’s three children (aged between five and ten) have been severely traumatised by the sudden loss of their father. Open Doors local partners have helped cover the family’s most urgent needs and are looking to provide them with long-term help. This support is a huge encouragement to Georgine.
Dieudonne was one of 400 people killed by the ADF in the country’s eastern North Kivu province over a five month period. His death reflects the dangers facing many of DRC’s Christians and the devastation this causes families.
How can I help Christians in DRC?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors works through local partners to support Christians in DRC through persecution survival and discipleship training, economic empowerment projects and trauma care.
Father God, we weep with our brothers and sisters in DRC facing such terrible violence. Please equip church leaders in vulnerable regions as they comfort those who mourn, minister to the traumatised and displaced, and prepare their congregations for the persecution they face. We ask that You would bring lasting peace to this suffering country. Amen.