The death toll from a suicide bombing in the eastern city of Beni, on the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, has risen to seven, officials said Sunday. A Christmas Day bombing at a crowded nightspot in the city center has injured 20 people, according to an update toll issued by authorities.
Military officials operating the city, which is currently under state of emergency, have blamed the attack on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), one of the deadliest armed groups in the region.
At present, the temporary toll has killed eight people, including a 22nd Brigade captain who was at a restaurant with his wife and children, as well as the suicide bomber, Communications Minister Patrick Muaya said.
He added that the injured included two young women, two young women, two women with two broken legs and two seriously injured women. Two local officials were also among the injured.
The military governor of North Kivu, Lieutenant General Constant Ndema, said the bomber was difficult to identify because of his body condition, but he was confident it could be done.
North Kivu Province is located just south of Ituri Province and on the DR Congo border with Uganda.
Both provinces have been under “blockade” since May, when the Congolese army took control of the area to facilitate operations against the ADF and other militias operating there.
On 30 November, the DRC and Uganda launched a joint operation against the country’s former ADF in an attempt to quell the bloody ADF attacks. Uganda has also blamed the group for a series of attacks on its territory.
The ADF has historically been a Ugandan rebel coalition, the largest of which consists of Muslims opposed to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
But it established itself in the East DRC in 1995, becoming the deadliest of the illegal forces in the troubled region.
The DRC has been blamed for killing thousands of civilians over the past decade, as well as bombings in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
The Islamic State group represents the ADF as its regional branch – the Islamic State of Central Africa, or ISCAP.
On March 11 this year, the United States placed the ADF on a list of “terrorist groups” linked to IS jihadists.
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