At least six people dead and several injured after a suspected Allied Democratic Forces suicide bomber attacked the Ishango restaurant in Beni, in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, at 7 p.m. on Christmas Day.
ICC’s partner in Beni confirmed the incident:
“This is an action of terror. It points clearly to the heinous atrocities that the Allied Democratic Forces(ADF) have been committing in Nord-Kivu and Ituri provinces. Today’s attack was unexpected because we are used to hearing incidences of Christians being killed in the villages. The last time we had such terror attacks in this town of Beni was in May and June, where the attackers also planted bombs in churches, but that was stopped by the government forces. In June, one woman was killed and others injured when a bomb planted inside a church’s compound exploded. Another bomb had been trapped at a bar that killed several revelers.”
Beni lies in the North of Nord-Kivu province where the Islamist terror group, ADF, has killed hundreds of Christians and left thousands homeless and displaced in 2021. The Anglican Bishop of Beni Diocese condemned today’s attack, terming it as a “cowardice activity carried out by weak rebels who want to make followers of their faith by force.”
“Recently, the attacks have only been… in the villages where there is not enough security watch… but 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.”
What began as a day of merrymaking for the Christians in Beni city ended tragically, cutting short the joy-filled weekend of celebrating the birth of Christ Jesus.
The deadly attack comes a month after the DRC reached an agreement with Uganda to have the Uganda People’s Defense (UPDF) carry out an operation to hunt down the ADF terrorists. The government has since released a statement condemning the act:
“The government condemns the explosion, on this Christmas evening, of a bomb in a restaurant in Beni, the work of a suicide bomber. The security services are deployed.”