A suicide bomber detonated a bomb at a crowded restaurant in eastern Congo on Christmas Day, December 25, killing five people, two of whom were children. The horrifying incident took place at the In Box bar in the city of Beni in East Congo. According to eyewitness accounts, the bar was packed with more than 30 people celebrating Christmas when the bomber struck.
According to DailyMail, a total of six people died in the attack, including the bomber. A city hall source reported that two children and two local officials were amongst the dead. The bar was filled with the remains of chairs, bottles, and glasses scattered all over the floor in the aftermath of the blast.
The colonel of the city of Beni, Narcisse Muteba urged the partygoers to return to the safety of their homes after the blast. Muteba is running the city during the state of emergency in the east of the country. The regional governor's spokesman, GÃ©nÃ©ral Ekenge Sylvain noted in a statement that the suicide bomber, after being prevented by the security guards from entering the bar, denoted the bomb at the entrance itself.
Allied Democratic Forces (ADF)
Officials are holding the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia responsible for Saturday's attack. ADF is backed by the Islamic State group, which claims it to be their central Africa arm. The ADF, however, did not claim responsibility for the attack immediately. Sylvain claimed that ADF's insurgents have activated a 'sleeper cell' in the city of Beni to target the citizens. He, however, could not provide proof for the same.
Sylvain then urged the people to avoid crowded places in the holiday season. "In the city and territory of Beni, it is difficult, in these times to know who is who," he said. The latest bombing comes on the heels of the recent violence in the region where Congolese and Ugandan forces are going head to head with Islamists.
Another suicide bombing
This is not the first time a suicide bomber struck in the city of Beni. Earlier this year, a suicide bombing created chaos near another bar in Beni. No casualties, however, were reported in that incident. The Islamic State affiliate had taken the responsibility for the said attack. Despite an offensive army and UN peacekeepers' presence in Beni, citizens have frequently raised voices over their safety.