The military reported that a suspected bombing by an Islamist extremist occurred during a Sunday service at a Protestant church in Kasindi, an eastern Congolese city near the Ugandan border, leaving at least five people dead and 15 injured.
The attack during a Sunday service, according to an army spokesman, was probably carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militant organization from Uganda that has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State.
“Despite the security measures put in place, the first indications show that it is the ADF which is behind this bomb attack,” Anthony Mualushay told Reuters by phone.
The ADF could not be reached for comment. It has not claimed responsibility for the bombing.
“I just came back from the scene, where I saw the bodies of children on the ground,” said Kasindi resident Alain Kitsa by phone, describing the atmosphere in the town as tense.
This would be the first time the ADF targeted Kasindi since the group stepped up attacks in the region in 2014, local territorial administrator, Charles Omeonga told Reuters, who said the estimated death toll was at least 10.
Kasindi is in a province where Congolese and Ugandan forces have launched a campaign against the ADF, which began as an uprising in Uganda but has been based in Congo since the late 1990s.
It pledged allegiance to Islamic State in mid-2019 and is accused of killing hundreds of villagers in frequent raids over the past two years.