At Least 8 People Killed in a Suicide Bomb Attack in the Congo

The site of a suicide bomb attack in Beni, northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo. Image: Zanem Nety Zaidi/Xinhua via Getty Images.

At least 8 people were killed at a restaurant after a suicide bomber struck a restaurant in the city of Beni in the Democratic Republic of Congo, CNN reports. Two women and a teenage girl were among those killed in the explosion.

According to a Beni security official, the explosion took place at INBOX bar at a Christmas celebration.

Patrick Muyaya, a government spokesperson, said that 20 other people were wounded in the blast.

The region where the blast took place happened where Congolese and Ugandan forces are currently engaged in a campaign against suspected Islamists.

“The suicide bomber, prevented by security guards from entering a crowded bar, activated the bomb at the entrance of the bar,” the regional governor’s spokesman, Gen. Ekenge Sylvain said in a statement.

In a radio broadcast, Narcisse Muteba Kashale, mayor of Beni, asked residents to stay home.

Sylvain also noted that the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group that supports the Islamic State, have established a “sleeper cell” in Beni to target citizens, but he did not provide any supporting evidence that connects the group to the blast.

Since the end of November, the Congo and Uganda have been in a military conflict against the ADF, with Uganda sending thousands of troops across the border and launching strikes against their bases. According to officials, they hold the group responsible for numerous bombings in the region.

President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo said in a statement on Saturday that he “strongly condemns” the “odious” attack.

In June, two explosions went off at a Catholic church and at a busy intersection in Beni. Other than the suspected bomber, no one else was killed during those explosions.

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