Militants from the Islamic State group have claimed responsibility for the killing of more than 35 people and injuring dozens in eastern Congo.
According to Associated Press, the group said they targeted "Christians" in Mukondi village, North Kivu province, using guns and knives and destroying property. A photo was also published showing houses on fire.
The country has a population of 95.2 million people, of which around 90.6 million are Christians, representing 95 per cent of the population. Despite the majority of the country being Christian, there is an increasing vulnerability of believers to persecution.
Currently, the eastern region of Congo is a perilous location for Christians due to ongoing conflicts among rebel groups, which includes an Islamic extremist faction called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The militia with links to IS, has recently extended its operations into neighbouring Ituri province and areas near the regional capital, Goma.
Efforts to stop the violence have been unsuccessful, with the ADF rebels accused of maiming, raping and abducting civilians.
Charles Ehuta Omeonga, military administrator for Beni region, told AP reporters: "As you see in Mukondi, it is always the same. ADF, which is always ill-intentioned against the Congolese."
"We lost many of our brothers,” he said.
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Congo has condemned the killings and called for an investigation.