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Suicide bomber kills six people in Christmas terror attack in Congo

by Kelly Valencia

At least six people have died and dozens have been injured after a suicide bomber struck a restaurant in Congo on 25th December.

Those in the restaurant in the city of Beni were celebrating Christmas when the suspected terrorist attacked.

"The suicide bomber, prevented by security guards from entering a crowded bar, activated the bomb at the entrance of the bar," the regional governor's spokesman, Général Ekenge Sylvain, said in a statement.

The attack marks the latest violence in a region where Congolese and Ugandan forces have launched a campaign against suspected Islamists.

Sylvain said that insurgents from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group aligned with Islamic State, had activated a "sleeper cell" in Beni to target citizens, but he did not provide evidence connecting them to the explosion.

Images shared on social media showed dozens of green chairs scattered across a road, some melted or smouldering. At least four bodies, including that of a small girl, could be seen among the wreckage.

An International Christian Concern partner said that the event was “unexpected” because attacks such as these against Christians tend to take place in villages.

“Now it seems like the terrorists are trying to make a statement that they are still present even in cities. They targeted the hotel because they knew that many people would gather in the evening to continue celebrating Christmas. Today, churches met as usual to begin the Christmas holiday…but now things have taken a new turn. However, we shall not let fear diminish the joy of Christ in this season, and we shall stand in prayer with the families of those killed today.”

The Anglican Bishop of Beni Diocese described the Christmas Day attack as a "cowardice activity carried out by weak rebels who want to make followers of their faith by force."

Additional reporting by Reuters

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