Priest martyred for Christ in DRC
Two months ago, an Anglican priest was killed in Eringeti village by members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamic rebel group that targets Christians in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. The Rev. Ven. Batsemire Ngulongo Yesse was killed alongside 35 other Christians living in four villages in the West district of Beni. The father of eight was slain when he refused to convert to Islam. International Christian Concern (ICC) met with his family at the border in Bwera district, Uganda.
“We were in our house at the church […] when we heard people walking inside the compound. My husband opened the door, and we found that they were a group of men, armed with machetes. They ordered my husband to sit down. We [the rest of the family] went inside and hid under the bed, but we could hear what they were saying to him. The people introduced themselves as Muslims. They asked the cleric why he was still pastoring the church and what religion he belonged to. He said we were Anglicans. They told him to convert to Islam if he wanted to live. He declined. Right there, they slew his neck and left. He died on the spot,” said Kapitula Francoise Mbambu, the widow of the Rev. Ven. Batsemire Ngulongo Yesse.
His son, Paluku Ngalyananzighu, narrated the horrific incident that took the life of his father. This was not their first chilling moment with the rebels. He said, “In April 2017, my two elder brothers were kidnapped from the farm and until now they have not returned home. They were taken to the mountains and we do not know if they were killed or are still alive. From that time our father used to encourage us to continue serving the local church instead of leaving, as many pastors had abandoned the region.”
“Now this time, they came at night and knocked at the door. My father opened the door. They asked him why he had ignored their order of leaving Christianity and becoming a Muslim. He replied that he was raised in a Christian family, became a Christian and baptised in an Anglican church and he could not convert to another religion. The Islamists threatened to kill him. He said that it is only God who knows the time of his death and if it is time for him to die then he is ready to die as a Christian. Then they slaughtered him. I was in another house and I heard all that they were doing. When they had killed my father they left,” he continued.
Many Christians are being killed on a regular basis. In November 2019 the ADF group killed the pastor of a Baptist church in Mayimoya. The Christians that live there have been living in fear since then.