Following a wave of increased hostility against believers, Churches in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are being desecrated and Christian nuns terrorized by “violent thugs,” Roman Catholic Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, has said.

Pasinya told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that there was an arson attack last week on the Malole major seminary and violent thugs have “sown terror among the Carmelite Sisters” in nearby Kananga.

He warned that a “resurgence of fear, anger and insecurity” is spreading among the population as a number of Catholic churches are being targeted. In another attack last week on the parish church of St. Dominic in the Limete, a gang “overturned the tabernacle, ransacked the altar, smashed some of the benches and attempted to set fire to the church.”

“The material damage is considerable,” the archbishop said.

Pasinya shared his belief that the Church is “being targeted deliberately, in order to sabotage her mission of peace and reconciliation,” when it comes to bringing the country back from the brink of civil war.

Islamic extremism has been a significant source of Christian persecution in the Congo, with the militant Allied Democratic Force Islamic terror group killing eight people last December.

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