At least 10 people have been killed and dozens of others wounded in a bomb attack during a service at a Protestant church in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according the country’s army.
The explosion killed at least 10 people and wounded 39 others, army spokesman Anthony Mualushay said on Sunday. Both tolls were provisional, he added.
Mualushay said the attack during the Sunday service in the city of Kasindi, on the border with Uganda, was likely carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group that has pledged allegiance to ISIL (ISIS).
Later on Sunday, the ISIL group claimed responsbility for the attack. The ADF, which began as an uprising in Uganda but has been based in the DRC since the late 1990s.
Survivors and witnesses said the blast severed some people’s limbs from their bodies.
Masika Makasi, 25, was sitting under a tent outside the church when she heard a noise that sounded like a tire going flat, she told the Associated Press news agency from her home in Kasindi. Her leg was injured in the attack and her sister-in-law, who was several feet away, died instantly, Makasi said.
“I am traumatised from seeing people die around me,” she said.
Kasindi is in a province where Congolese and Ugandan forces have launched a campaign against the ADF.
It pledged allegiance to ISIL in mid-2019 and is accused of killing hundreds of villagers in frequent raids over the past two years.
Troops from Uganda’s army have deployed to eastern Congo to try to stem the violence, but the attacks have increased and spread. ADF attacks since April have killed at least 370 civilians and involved the abduction of several hundred more, a report by the United Nations last month said.
The rebel group has extended its area of operations to Goma and into neighboring Ituri province.
More than 120 armed groups roam mineral-rich eastern DRC. Many are the legacy of regional wars that flared at the turn of the century.