Two homemade bombs exploded on Sunday in the city of Beni, including one inside a church, a first in this region of the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the murderer armed group ADF, affiliated with the jihadists, is rampant. of the Islamic State according to the United States.
The mayor of Beni, a police officer, Colonel Narcisse Muteba, declared a curfew in the city on Sunday evening.
“I don’t want to see anyone in the street, everyone barricading themselves because according to the information at our disposal, there is something still going on. I only want to see police and soldiers in the streets Colonel Muteba told reporters.
A first bomb detonated in the morning at 06:00 am (04:00 GMT).
“It’s a homemade bomb,” placed inside an Assumptionist Catholic church, Colonel Narcisse Muteba Kashale, mayor of Beni-Ville (North Kivu, east) and police officer told AFP.
Two women were injured, the explosion having taken place before the hour of rush of the faithful for an important ceremony of sacrament of confirmation to the children, specified to AFP the vicar general of Beni, Monsignor Laurent Sondirya.
“They targeted a large crowd because the ceremony will bring together children, their parents and the faithful”, explained the Catholic prelate. “The mass to administer the sacrament of confirmation will not be postponed”, insisted Mgr Sondirya.
– Carrier of a bomb killed –
Traces of blood were visible at the entrance of the church, noted an AFP correspondent. Shards of glass and pieces of wood were strewn inside, next to badly damaged sound systems.
“I had just entered the church, I hardly wanted to sit down I heard boom (…). Blood started to flow from my mouth. I lost 4 teeth”, testified to AFP on her hospital bed Antoinette Kavira, one of the victims, also injured in the arms.
This is the first time that a building belonging to the Catholic Church, the most important religion in the city, has been directly targeted in the territory of Beni, where the Muslim armed group of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) is rife, which terrorizes the population by its massacres and beheadings.
A few hours later, around 7:30 p.m., the bearer of a second bomb was killed in the explosion of his device near a bar where a dozen people were drinking beer, in the commune of Rwenzori, said the colonel. Narcissus Muteba.
There was only a heap of flesh and bones visible near the Malumalu crossroads, a hundred meters from the Mabakanga mosque, an AFP correspondent noted.
On Saturday, a bomb had already exploded on the outskirts of the city, next to a gas station, without causing damage. “It was a homemade bomb hidden under a tractor-trailer that had exploded, but my services believed it was a puncture. But this morning, I saw that there were shrapnel just like in the church, “Colonel Muteba told AFP.
– Jihadists of the Islamic State –
The region has been terrorized for years by the ADF armed group, which never claims responsibility for its attacks.
Originally the Ugandan Muslim rebels, the ADF has been rooted for more than 25 years in this part of eastern DRC, in the province of North Kivu. They have ceased their operations against neighboring Uganda and are accused of having massacred thousands of civilians.
On March 11, the United States placed the ADF among the “terrorist groups” affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) group. Many questions have arisen since then as to the reality and depth of their alleged ties to ISIS.
Since 2019, IS has claimed, with supporting images and on its usual communication channels via social networks, some of the attacks attributed to the ADF.
On May 6, President Félix Tshisekedi declared a state of siege in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri in order to put an end to the murderous activities of the hundred local and foreign armed groups identified in the east. Congolese by the Kivu Security Barometer (KST). The ADF are the deadliest of these groups.
In mid-June, President Tshisekedi went to Beni, where he called on the population to “collaborate” with the security forces against the ADF, a “sneaky enemy”.