Deadly bombing in a crowded restaurant for Christmas
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Officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo say at least six people have died in a suicide bombing attack on a crowded restaurant in the eastern town of Beni.
Police prevented the suicide bomber from entering the building, but he blew himself up at the entrance, killing himself and five other people.
13 other people were injured.
Officials blamed Saturday’s attack on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militant group believed to be linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS).
So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
More than 30 people were celebrating Christmas at the In Box restaurant when the bomb went off, two witnesses told AFP news agency.
Children and local officials were said to have been in the restaurant at the time.
“I was sitting there,” local radio presenter Nicolas Ekila told AFP. “There was a motorbike parked there. Suddenly the motorbike took off, then there was a deafening noise.”
After the explosion, the military officer responsible for the state of emergency in the east of the country asked residents to return to their homes for their own safety.
There have been frequent clashes in Beni between the army and Islamists in recent weeks.
In November, Congolese and Ugandan forces launched a joint operation against the ADF in an attempt to end a series of brutal attacks.
Ugandan authorities say the group is behind a series of recent attacks in the country, including in the capital Kampala.
The militant group was formed in the 1990s by Ugandans unhappy with the government’s treatment of Muslims, but was driven out of western Uganda and its remains fled across the border to DR Congo.
He settled in eastern DR Congo and has been blamed for thousands of killings of civilians over the past decade, including attacks on Christians.
In March, the United States added the ADF to its list of terrorist groups linked to ISIS. For its part, IS claims that ADF is a subsidiary.
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