BENI (Reuters) – Four people were injured when a bomb exploded at a busy market in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo town of Beni on Saturday, police said, days after the US embassy in the capital Kinshasa warned of a possible attack.
Local police said they were looking for the suspected suicide bomber after the blast in Beni, which is in an area where Congolese and Ugandan forces have launched a campaign against suspected Islamists.
“We call on the population to calm and above all to be vigilant,” said Beni city police spokesman Nasson Murara.
Police treated the injured at the market before taking them to a local police hospital, a Reuters reporter said at the scene.
Frank Kasisa, attending physician at Beni Police Hospital, said four people were in stable condition after being injured in the blast. He confirmed that no one had been killed.
Stephanie Kahambu, who has a shop inside the market, said the market was packed before the blast.
“We heard a bomb go off and everyone fled in different directions,” Kahambu said. “It’s really sad because I saw four people seriously injured.”
The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa said on Tuesday it believed “terrorist attacks” were planned in Beni “in the near future,” and warned citizens against all travel to the country.
Beni has witnessed several recent bombings that authorities have blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan militant group that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
A suicide bomber hit a Beni restaurant on Christmas Day last year, killing at least six people and himself, officials said.
Beni was also hit by two explosions in June last year at a Catholic church and at a busy junction. The only fatality in both incidents was in the second bombing, in which the suspected suicide bomber was killed.
(Reporting by Erikas Mwisi Kambale; Writing by Cooper Inveen; Editing by Alison Williams and Timothy Heritage)