Bomb Exploded Inside Catholic Church As Two Injured In Eastern DR Congo

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A makeshift bomb exploded inside a Catholic church in the city of Beni in DR Congo’s conflict-plagued east on Sunday, injuring two just an hour before a children’s Confirmation ceremony was due to be held.

The head of police in Beni’s town hall Narcisse Muteba Kashale told AFP that the explosion occurred at 6:00 am (0400 GMT) and that experts from the UN’s mission to DR Congo had said: “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 AFP, adding that “mass would not be postponed”.

Traces of blood could be seen at the entrance to the church in the aftermath of the explosion, an AFP 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.

Sunday Akintoye

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