Deadly bombing at restaurant packed for Christmas

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Intl desk, Dec 26: Officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo say at least six people have died in a suicide bomb attack on a crowded restaurant in the eastern city of Beni.

Police prevented the bomber from entering the building, but he blew himself up at the entrance killing himself and five other people.

Another 13 people were injured.

The officials blamed Saturday’s attack on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militant group said to be linked to the so-called Islamic State.

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

More than 30 people were celebrating Christmas in the restaurant when the bomb went off, two witnesses told AFP news agency.

There have been frequent clashes in Beni between the army and Islamists in recent weeks.

In November, Congolese and Ugandan forces began a joint operation against the ADF in an attempt to end a series of brutal attacks.

Authorities in Uganda say the group is behind a series of recent attacks in the country, including in the capital Kampala.

The militant group was formed in the 1990s by Ugandans disgruntled with the government’s treatment of Muslims, but it was routed from western Uganda and its remnants fled across the border to DR Congo.

The attack took place in the eastern city of Beni, in an area where Islamic extremists are known to operate. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing.

At least five people, including the attacker, died in the bomb blast, local officials said. Two children were among those killed, according to Mayor Narcisse Muteba.

“Investigations are underway to find the perpetrators of this terrorist attack,” he told the Associated Press. Muteba urged residents to return to their homes for their own safety.

Another 13 people are being treated for their injuries in hospital, but their condition was not immediately known.

The attacker attempted to enter the building where many people had gathered to celebrate Christmas, but was stopped by security guards. The bomber then detonated an explosive device at the entrance, with images from the scene showing broken chairs and tables scattered at the blast site.

Source: News Agencies