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5/13/2024 DRC (International Christian Concern) — Earlier this month, rebel groups attacked two camps for internally displaced people in the northeast province of Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The U.N. reported that the bomb killed at least 18 people and injured 32 others. Most of the victims were women and children. 

More than 100 armed groups are active in the DRC’s northeastern region, fighting for land, control of mines, or trying to protect communities. These groups often target Christians. Various conflicts conducted by these groups have displaced nearly 7 million people, thousands of whom currently reside in temporary camps. 

In their response to these attacks, the U.N. called the violence a “flagrant violation of human rights and international humanitarian law and may constitute a war crime.” According to international law, specifically the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (1998), “Once persons have been displaced, they retain a broad range of economic, social-cultural, civil and political rights including … the right to be protected from physical violence.” 

The population of the DRC is roughly 5.5 million people, 55% of whom are Catholic and 32% are Protestant. Boasting one of the largest Christian populations in all of Africa, the DRC is greatly affected by religious violence. Many people in the camps, such as the ones attacked last week, are practicing Christians who have faced persecution throughout their lives. 

President Felix Tshisekedi blamed this attack on M23 rebels, an extremist group linked to the ethnic Tutsi rebels of Rwanda. Because of M23’s continued violence in the DRC for more than a decade, many Congolese citizens are criticizing President Tshisekedi for not ending the conflict. 

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