Democratic Republic of Congo: attack kills at least five in city of Beni, North Kivu

A suicide bomber killed at least five people by detonating his bomb on Saturday (December 25) in Beni, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The provincial authorities accuse the rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) group, whose leaders have pledged allegiance to the jihadist organization Islamic State.

“The suicide bomber, prevented by the security guards from accessing the bar crowded with customers, activated the bomb at the entrance. The still provisional toll shows six dead, including the suicide bomber, and thirteen wounded admitted to local hospitals ”, wrote Brigadier General Sylvain Ekenge, spokesperson for the military governor of North Kivu.

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« Among the wounded are the two deputy mayors of the communes of Mulekera and Ruwenzori », he added, indicating that « The desperate ADF terrorists activated their sleeper cells in the town of Beni in order to launch actions against the peaceful citizens ».

A few minutes after the explosion, an Agence France-Presse (AFP) correspondent saw three shredded bodies. A source from the town hall of Beni indicated that among those killed, « There are two children ». The bomb exploded inside the In Box restaurant where more than thirty people were celebrating Christmas, according to two witnesses.

Under siege since May

On June 27, the explosion of a homemade bomb in a Catholic church injured two women. The same day, the bomb carrier was killed in the explosion of his device near a bar and not far from a mosque. The day before, another machine had exploded, not far from a gas station, without causing damage. The authorities accused the ADF rebels of being responsible for these attacks.

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North Kivu and Ituri have been under siege since early May, an exceptional measure which gave full powers to the military, but which has so far failed to stop the abuses by armed groups.

In these two provinces of the DRC, the Congolese and Ugandan armies have been carrying out joint military operations since November 30 against the positions of the rebels of the Ugandan group of Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The deadliest group in the DRC, the ADF are also accused by Kampala of being responsible for recent attacks on its soil, claimed by IS, which presents this group as its province in Central Africa.

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The World with AFP

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