In October 2017, a video calling for an Islamic State jihad in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) appeared online and in a few news reports. It was purportedly made in Beni Territory, within Congo’s North Kivu Province, where a phantom, so-called Islamist militia, the Allied Democratic Forces, has been blamed for massacres of the indigenous population that began in October 2014.
The footage featured a bearded, camo-clad North African or Middle Eastern man draped in ammunition belts and holding a Kalashnikov rifle, while calling on Islamic State jihadists to come to Congo – in Arabic. Black African militiamen stood behind him.
Nearly two and a half years later, on April 4, 2019, the Atlantic Council, a Washington, D.C., think tank committed to U.S. hegemony, reported that Felix Tshisekedi, the new president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, had come to the U.S. and told them he feared ISIS attacks in DRC. He warned, they wrote, that ISIS might try to establish a caliphate there now that they’d been pushed out of their strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
Ten days after that, the New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg and other major corporate media outlets began reporting ISIS attacks in DRC. Specifically in North Kivu Province’s Beni Territory, a region with large reserves of rainforest timber, oil, gold, coltan, cassiterite (tin), rare earths, and other strategic and critical minerals essential to both industrial and military industrial manufacture.
Trouble with this ongoing story is that DRC’s population is more than 90 percent Christian and only 2 percent Muslim, and the Roman Catholic Church is its most influential non-governmental institution. Arabic is neither the international language nor any of the national or indigenous languages.
So the idea of ISIS establishing a caliphate might seem comical if the indigenous people of Beni weren’t being massacred by the illegal resource trafficking militias already operating there and the proposed caliphate weren’t a new cover for that.