Islamist Extremists Attack Churches, Terrorise Nuns In Bid To Sabotage Church's Peace Mission In The Congo

Rubble litters the ground of the Malole seminary in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after it was attacked by suspected Islamist extremists on Feb. 18, 2017.(Aid to the Church in Need)

Islamist extremism is bringing death and destruction not only in the Middle East but in other parts of the world as well.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), formerly Zaire, in Central Africa, Islamist extremists have been targeting churches in what a top Roman Catholic official believes is a deliberate effort to "sabotage the church's mission of peace and reconciliation" in the country and bring it back from the brink of war.

Roman Catholic Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that churches in the DRC are being desecrated and Christian nuns terrorised by "violent thugs" amid a wave of increased hostility on Christians.

Last week, the extremists burned the Malole major seminary and "sown terror among the Carmelite Sisters" in nearby Kananga, Pasinya said.

The extremists also attacked the St. Dominic church in the town of Limete. They "overturned the tabernacle, ransacked the altar, smashed some of the benches and attempted to set fire to the church," the archbishop said.

Late last year, at least 38 people were killed when the Islamist militant group Allied Democratic Force (ADF) attacked the DRC town of Beni, according to Open Doors USA.

The ADF has reportedly killed more than 700 people in various attacks since 2014. Christians believe the Islamist extremists want to uproot and drive them out of the Congo so that the extremists can take control of the East Africa Lakes area.

In August last year, Pope Francis denounced the Christian persecution in the Congo after at least 36 Christians were hacked to death by the jihadist group in the North Kivu region.

"My thoughts go to the people of North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who have been recently hit with fresh massacres, which have for some time been perpetrated in shameful silence, without attracting even as much as our attention," Francis was quoted by the Radio Vaticana as saying.

"Unfortunately, they are part of the too many innocent people who have no weight on world opinion," the pope lamented.