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2 injured after church bombing in the Democratic Republic of Congo

by Kelly Valencia

Two people have been injured after a makeshift bomb exploded inside a Catholic church in the eastern city of Beni, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DCR) on Sunday, just hours before a confirmation ceremony was due to take place. 

Beni's vicar general Laurent Sondirya said: "They were targeting a large crowd because the ceremony would bring together children, their parents and the faithful."

The mayor of the city, Colonel Narcisse Kashale Muteba, told reporters the church explosion, which occurred at 6am local time, was followed by a suicide bomber outside a bar that was around 100 metres away from a Mosque. 

Another bomb had exploded on Saturday in the outskirts of the city without causing any damage. 

Following the explosions, Mayor Muteba announced a curfew in the city from 9pm to 5am with checkpoints to monitor the movement of people and goods. 

"I don't want to see anyone in the street," said Mayor Muteba. "Everyone should go inside because we have information that something else is being planned."

Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, the government believes Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a terrorist group based in Uganda, is to blame.

Earlier this year, Illia Djadi, Open Doors' senior analyst for freedom of religion or belief in Sub-Saharan Africa, told Premier: "Christian communities are being attacked by an Islamist extremist group with a clear expansionist agenda.

"This is remarkably similar to what groups like Boko Haram are doing in northeast Nigeria. The ideology, the agenda of establishing a 'caliphate' in the region, and the way they operate is the same. We can see how they afflict terrible suffering on innocent people. This is deeply worrying; we really need to pay attention to these events."

At least 95 per cent of the DRC's population is believed to be Christian, with 70 per cent of those being Catholic, according to charity Caritas. 

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