Two Injured As Bomb Explodes In Catholic Church
Two people have been injured as a bomb exploded inside a Catholic church in the city of Beni in DR Congo’s conflict-plagued east on Sunday.
The head of police in Beni’s town hall Narcisse Muteba Kashale disclosed that the explosion occurred just an hour before a children’s confirmation ceremony was due to be held.
Kashale disclosed that the explosion occurred at 6:00 am (0400 GMT) and experts from the UN’s mission to DR Congo had told “us it is a home-made 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 went off before crowds would have gathered to attend the Confirmation ceremony.
“They were targeting a large crowd because the ceremony would bring together children, their parents and the faithful,” he told Nigeria News, adding that “mass would not be postponed”.
Blood was seen at the entrance to the church following the explosion, a Nigeria News reporter said, while shards of glass were scattered inside and the sound equipment was destroyed.
It marks the first time a building belonging to the Catholic Church, the city’s largest religion, has been directly targeted in Beni territory, where the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia is accused of killing 6,000 people since 2013, according to the Catholic episcopate.
The ADF is the deadliest of an estimated 120 armed militia groups that roam the mineral-rich east of the vast central African country, many of them a legacy of two regional wars from 1996 to 2003.
It is historically a Ugandan Islamist group that has holed up in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since 1995.