People flee with their belongings after the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, in Goma, Congo, on Saturday, May 22, 2021. Photo: VCG
A makeshift bomb exploded inside a Catholic church in the conflict-ridden eastern Democratic Republic of Congo town of Beni on Sunday, leaving two injured just an hour before the event was held. a confirmation ceremony for the children.
The police chief of the town hall of Beni, Narcisse Muteba Kashale, told AFP that the explosion occurred at 6:00 a.m. (04:00 GMT) and that experts from the UN mission in DR Congo us had said “this is a homemade bomb, a bomb that was set up for an ambush.”
Beni’s vicar general Laurent Sondirya said two people were injured in the blast, which occurred before crowds gathered to attend the confirmation ceremony.
“They were targeting a large crowd because the ceremony would bring together the children, their parents and the faithful,” he told AFP, adding that “the mass would not be postponed”.
Traces of blood could be seen at the entrance of the church the day after the explosion, said an AFP journalist, while shards of glass scattered inside and equipment from sound system was destroyed.
This is the first time that a building belonging to the Catholic Church, the largest religion in the city, has been directly targeted in the territory of Beni, where the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia is accused of having killed 6,000 people since 2013, according to the Catholic episcopate. .
Two Beni imams known to have denounced ADF violence were shot dead in May, one inside the city’s mosque and the other after evening prayers.
The ADF is the deadliest of some 120 armed militia groups that roam the mineral-rich east of the vast Central African country, many of them
them a legacy of two regional wars
from 1996 to 2003.
It is historically a Ugandan Islamist group that has entrenched itself in eastern DR Congo since 1995.
The ADF is accused of having killed hundreds of civilians since the launch of operations from a base in the jungle around Beni in November 2019.
In March, the United States said the ADF was linked to the Islamic State group.