AFP
Wire Service
2 minute read
9 Apr 2022
2:00 am

Death toll from DR Congo blast revised down to six

AFP

The six dead include a colonel, a captain, three women and a child.

A soldier of the Democratic Republic of Congo's armed forces holds his weapon during a security patrol around the Kiwanja airfield days after clashes with the M23 rebels in Rutshuru, 70 kilometers from the city of Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on April 3, 2022. (Photo by Guerchom NDEBO / AFP)

Authorities in DR Congo on Friday said six people died in a blast in the country’s troubled east caused by a suspected bomb.

The previous toll from the explosion on Thursday in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, had been put at eight dead.

Goma’s military governor, Constant Ndima, said the blast occurred in a bar located inside a military camp.

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“The site has been sealed off to enable forensic experts to investigate exactly the nature of the device,” he told journalists.

One suspected cause has been the accidential detonation of a grenade by a soldier.

“But my first impression… (is that) given the fragment impacts and the blast, I think it has to be an improvised explosive device,” Ndima said, stressing that only an investigation would determine whether this was accurate.

The six dead include a colonel, a captain, three women and a child, he said.

North Kivu lies in a region that has been in the grip of armed groups for a quarter of a century, many of them a legacy of the Congo Wars of the 1990s and early 2000s.

One of the most notorious groups is the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which the Islamic State group bills as its local affiliate.

However, the Goma area of North Kivu has so far been spared ADF attacks.

Ndima said that the province was “facing jihadists, terrorism” but appealed to people to remain calm.

“It (the public) must not give in to that kind of terror,” he urged. 

North Kivu and neighbouring Ituri province are under a so-called state of siege declared last May.

Under it, civilian leaders have been replaced by military or police officers, with the declared aim of boosting a crackdown on armed groups.

In late November, Ugandan troops joined DR Congo’s army in an operation against the ADF, following bomb attacks in the Ugandan capital Kampala that were blamed on the group.