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01/05/2022 Democratic Republic of the Congo (International Christian Concern) – For nineteen-year-old Kahindo Kambuthye, the events of October 4th, 2021 will remain etched in her memory forever.

The day started out like any other day as she worked alongside her mother and father, tilling their farm on the outskirts of Virunga National Park in Eastern DRC. But later that afternoon, her life changed forever. She narrated the incident to ICC:

“The rebels appeared abruptly and pulled us away into the thick forest,” She said in reference to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed insurgent group in the Eastern DRC with ties to the Islamic State. “They were conversing in Swahili and Arabic, saying that they would kill us for refusing to become Muslim. The rebels separated me from my parents, and for three days, they sexually abused me in turns. They were eight in number.”

The ADF started in the 1990s as a force opposing the alleged mistreatment of Muslims by the Ugandan government. They later expanded their operation to DR Congo where they have now grown and spread in the provinces of Ituri and North-Kivu.

Kahindo continued to narrate her horrific ordeal. “I was held at a camp with grass-thatched huts on one side and tents on the other side. There was a place where they cooked food and kept medicines that were stolen from the dispensaries. They not only raped me but also forced me to cook for them.” 

While suffering in captivity, Kahindo didn’t know that her mother, who had managed to escape the rebels a day after their kidnapping, was planning a rescue mission. On October 7th, her mother reached the police, and officers set off into the forest to find the rebel camps.

According to Kahindo, the terrorists had heard about the pending attack. “The rebels knew about it and armed themselves further to fight back. A fierce gun battle ensued between the rebels and the police, and that’s when I managed to escape without being noticed.”

She continued, “The Lord strengthen my weak body and enabled me to trek back home, but I did not find anybody in our village. I continued to the next village, where I found my mother and my three siblings hiding. We did not know the whereabouts of our father, and until now, we do not know whether he is alive or dead.”

On October  8th, Kahindo’s family relocated from Isale to Butembo where they are now being hosted by a Christian family.

Today, Kahindo has completed her secondary education and hopes to pursue a nine-year medical course, so she can care for victims of violence in her country.

“I desire to study medicine so that I can help young girls and women who get sexually assaulted by the rebels,” she told ICC. “I am undergoing treatment and counseling, and I would not wish other young girls to go through the same experience I went through. I have received admission at a local university, and I trust that the Lord provides funds for tuition and upkeep.”

With the help of donors like you, ICC was able to cover living and tuition expenses for Kahindo’s first year of medical school. We will continue to monitor her progress and ask that you join us in praying for her and her family, as well as for her father’s escape from the ADF. Please also continue to pray for all of the victims of violence in the DRC.

For interviews, please contact press@persecution.org.