DRC: Worship leader and deacon among 9 people killed by Islamist militants

Fr Vincent Machozi lost his life in an earlier attack in CongoAugustinians of the Assumption

Christians are fleeing after Islamist militants murdered another nine people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Nearly 50 people have now been killed in one week, according to World Watch Monitor.

Only last week, almost 40 villagers were slaughtered in North Kivu province.

The latest attack was in Ituri province. Up to 15 people were murdered, including the worship leader and deaconess of a local church, part of the Eglise du Rocher mission organisation. The same organisation lost a pastor and his wife in an earlier attack in 2014 and the local church, which closed its mission to Mbuti Pygmies as a result, has yet to re-open. 

After the latest attack, Mike Anticoli, founder of Eglise du Rocher, wrote on Facebook: "Please Pray for our Churches and DR Congo. These are OUR people on the ground as well as so many innocent people. Such horrible news. We just lost 2 more of our workers in Church on the Rock. We lost a Deaconess and Worship Leader. Please pray for their familes and the rest of the Church. The killing continues. Families are separated and hoping to find each other. Many are displaced. I have no words..."

The deaconess, Éva Makanaiye, and the worship leader, Rose, both left behind five children.

Anticoli told World Watch Monitor: "Our pastor ran away with two of his children. The whole night he did not know where his wife was, or his three other children. People spent the night in the jungle under heavy rain. This morning our pastor came back and found his wife and children all alive. Praise God!"

Armed forces failed to help, even though a Congolese army base was located just 300 metres away and a UN base just 500 metres away. 

The attacks come in the context of a wider war against Christianity in Congo.

Locals blamed Muslim Defense International, formerly known as the Alliance of Democratic Forces, but the group has not claimed responsibility. The group was linked to Adi Amin, Uganda dictator, and according to the UN is responsible for hundreds of civilian deaths. Its abuses include forcing Christians to convert to Islam.