Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi

The toll in Sunday’s bombing of a Pentecostal church in the Congo’s Nord Kivu provinces has risen to twenty dead and thirty nine wounded, a spokesman for FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) said today.

On 16 Jan 2023 FARDC spokesman Antony Mualushayi said “We arrested a person of Kenyan nationality who was involved in the attack,” adding it was an “attack by ADF/MTM terrorists who suffered heavy casualties at the hands of the FARDC in several skirmishes.”

“Before the turn of the year the regular army appealed to the population to pay attention to the possibility of attacks, because we have reliable information that the terrorists are preparing attacks on civilian settlements in view of the losses they have suffered. We have taken security measures to protect the civilian population, however, unfortunately, the terrorists managed to plant an improvised explosive device in the church in Kasindi”.

“The population needs to know that we are facing a terrorist threat, but we ask everyone to remain calm and have faith in the army”, Captain Mualushayi said.

On the afternoon of Sunday 15 Jan 2023 a bomb was detonated during a baptism service being held at the Eglise du Christ au Congo (ECC) in Kasindi, Nord Kivu province, near the border with Uganda.

Writing on the Telegram social media outlet, the Islamic State in Central Africa (ISCAP) claimed responsibility for the attack. “Islamic State fighters managed to plant and detonate a bomb in a Christian church in the city of Kasindi.”

The jihadists said the bombing was “further evidence of the failure of the recent military campaigns by the Congolese armed forces and their allies to ensure the safety of Christians”. 

Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi told a television audience he was “very saddened by this heinous crime, reassures that the culprits will be prosecuted, arrested, tried and severely punished.”