DR Congo church bomb explosion kills 10 and wounds 39

Attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo are frequent. (Photo: Getty Images)

At least ten people were murdered, and 39 others were injured when a bomb swept through a church in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo on Sunday in an attack blamed on Islamist extremists.

Antony Mualushayi, a spokesman for the Congolese military, stated that the "terrorist act" occurred in a Pentecostal church in Kasindi, a border town in the North Kivu region.

He added that the explosion resulted in at least ten deaths and 39 injuries, updating an earlier death toll of five. The official stated that both tolls were temporary.

Sunday evening, however, the spokesman for Uganda's military operation in the DRC, Bilal Katamba, reported that 16 people had been killed and 20 injured in the explosion.

"The attackers used an IED to carry out the attack, and we suspect ADF is behind the attack," he continued.

AFP was unable to confirm the death toll independently.

The DRC's communications ministry stated on social media that the incident was likely perpetrated by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which the Islamic State claims to be its affiliate in central Africa.

The ADF is one of the most lethal of the more than 120 armed organizations in eastern DRC, many of which are the remnants of regional conflicts that erupted at the turn of the century.

It has been accused of killing thousands of Congolese civilians and bombing Uganda. In the past, ADF agents have also planted bombs in North Kivu towns.

According to the Site intelligence organization, the Islamic State group claimed credit for the incident on Sunday evening and stated that "nearly 20" persons had been slain.

Army spokesman Mualushayi stated that a Kenyan suspect was detained following the attack.

'God saved me.'

Esdras Kambale Mupanya, a deacon of an evangelical church in Kasindi, stated that congregants had gathered for a baptism ritual before the explosion.

"Several among us died on the spot; others had their feet cut in two," the 42-year-old told AFP. "God saved me, and I emerged with my choirmates in good health. Today was not the day I was to pass away ".

Jean-Paul Syauswa, a fellow survivor, stated that the explosion occurred soon after a group of people had been baptized, while a blind pastor commented on Bible scriptures.

He stated, "The bomb threw me at least 100 meters (yards) away,"

Kiza Kivua, a 50-year-old farmer whose brother was killed in the incident, expressed difficulty coping with the loss of a "loved one who went to church to pray."

He further stated that he believed the administration was disregarding its citizenry.

"How can such a situation happen when Kasindi is full of soldiers?" asked Kivua.

'More visible and more lethal.'

The United States designated the ADF as a "foreign terrorist organization" with ties to the Islamic State in 2021. The militia is primarily active in North Kivu and the adjacent Ituri region.

In the same year, a joint Congolese-Ugandan military campaign against the ADF within the DRC was initiated.

However, the attacks continued.

Independent experts for the UN Security Council released a report in December stating that despite the Congolese-Ugandan military campaign, the ADF has "continued its geographic expansion", murdering at least 370 civilians since April 2022.

It also warned that the ADF was altering its strategy, aiming for "more visible and more lethal" urban bombings.

According to independent UN specialists, a lady detonated a suicide vest in a pub in Goma, the city of North Kivu, in April of last year. Six individuals were killed, and sixteen more were injured in the incident.

In 2021, to end the bloodshed, the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, placed North Kivu and Ituri under a so-called siege, with military personnel replacing civilian administrations.

Additionally, the approach has mainly failed to prevent attacks against people.

The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the United Nations peacekeeping operation in the over 90 million-person nation denounced the attack on Sunday.

Publish : 2023-01-16 08:52:00

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