Congolese branch of Islamic State targeting Christians for world attention


Recent attacks on churches in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by the Islamic State suggest a new strategy of targeting Christians to gain world attention, according to the Terrorism Monitor newsletter (January 20). On January 14, the Congolese branch of the Islamic State (IS) bombed a church in Kasindi, killing 10 people and injuring several dozen others. The attack was unique because the IS did not acknowledge it as a suicide bombing. Congolese authorities claimed that the bomber survived the detonation under the church rubble. The incident continued a trend of IS fighters in the DRC targeting Christians in increasingly lethal operations. One of the planners of the church attack was a Kenyan national, suggesting the expansion of the Congolese IS branch. The church bombing followed several other attacks on Christians that included the burning down of Christian homes and the killing of a Catholic nun and six other Christians. The newsletter concludes that, on “the strategic level, IS in the Congo benefits from attacking Christians in two ways. First, the attacks cause an uproar, which generates attention toward the IS globally. This is why IS was quick to promote the church bombing in Kasindi after the operation. Second, IS is able to pillage from Christian villages that it attacks to replenish food and other essentials…The lack of counter-terrorism coordination amid the destructive attacks on Christians indicates the war on the Congolese branch is far from over. In fact, the Congolese branch, if anything, is seeing a resurgence like their Mozambican and Sahelian cohorts in their respective regions.”

(Terrorism Monitor,