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After killing her, they turned to me; they were well armed with guns and other items like axes and knives. In my heart, I was praying to Jesus to save me.” 

12/11/2023 DRC & Uganda (International Christian Concern) — Suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) insurgents killed a woman and abducted a man in Kasese this week. The ADF is an Islamist rebel group found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), considered a terrorist organization with the motive of expanding Islam. 

The rebels attacked Ngoko Village in western Uganda’s Kasese District on December 7 around 9 p.m. They killed one person, identified as Betty Biira, a 35-year-old resident of Ngoko (pictured above). The assailants also injured her 13-year-old nephew, John Masereka.  

Local authorities also reported that a 50-year-old man identified as Aston Agaba was abducted and has still not been found. 

“Though we have lost one person and whereas we do not know where Aston is, we thank the almighty God that 13-year-old boy survived the attack after escaping from the hands of the rebels but was severely injured with axes on the forehead and skull,” said Kayo Joseph, the Ngoko Village chairperson. 

Masereka narrated the ordeal that left his aunt dead, saying, “The killers were strange people. They were speaking a language that I could not understand. They hacked my aunt to death using an axe and machetes. It was a group of about five men who were also demanding phones and food. They started cutting my aunt. After killing her, they turned to me; they were well-armed with guns and other items like axes and knives. In my heart, I was praying to Jesus to save me. I sustained several cuts, but the Lord helped me to flee. I was rescued by good Samaritans who took me to the hospital.” 

The Kitswamba terrorist attack happened a month and a half after an ADF ambush in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park, which resulted in the deaths of three foreign tourists. In addition, on June 16th, 2023, the Congolese Islamist group attacked a school in Kasese district, killing 40 students. 

Nason Baluku, the bishop of the Anglican South Rwenzori diocese, condemned the incident, saying, “Rebel attacks on Christians undermine the foundations of a stable society since faith is an integral part of the communities we live in. Violence instead of peaceful means to address grievances are tantamount to violation of basic human freedoms of worship and association. He called upon the Church in Western Uganda to remain steadfast in prayer and denounce any individual or group that calls for religious hate and discrimination.” 

The head of the Baptist Church in Kasese also called for coexistence between people of different faiths, urging religious leaders in Congo and Uganda to seek a middle ground. He said, “Rebel attacks often result in the loss of innocent lives, causing immense suffering and destruction. We need to express solidarity with the victims and emphasize the importance of protecting human life and dignity, coexisting and engaging in interfaith dialogue in order to push back religious violence and terrorism.” 

In 2019, ADF’s language became increasingly extremist when it forged official ties with Islamic State. In 2020, ADF leader Musa Baluku shared in a propaganda video that ADF had been dissolved and fully incorporated into the Islamic State conglomerate. Since that time, ADF has again become primarily marked by Islamist extremism—bad news for Christians in DRC, Uganda, and nearby Mozambique. 

Please pray for the family of Betty that the lord would comfort them in their grief. Please also pray for the safe return of Aston and for the emotional healing of those who witnessed this brutal attack. 

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