A suicide bomber struck a restaurant in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Christmas Day, killing himself and at least six others, according to Congo government officials.
Patrick Muyaya, Congo’s government spokesman, confirmed on Twitter that the explosion resulted from a suicide bomber.
The bombing occurred in the eastern Congolese town of Beni, a reported hub of Islamic extremist activity. Mayor Narcisse Muteba Kashale told Reuters, “There were five people killed in the explosion, plus the bomber, making six.”
Shortly after the bombing, heavy gunfire was reported near the restaurant.
According to Reuters:
Police spokesman Nasson Murara said that officers fired live rounds to disperse an angry crowd that attempted to bar investigators from accessing the scene of the explosion. No one was injured, he said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the Christmas Day attack yet. “Investigations are underway to find the perpetrators of this terrorist attack,” said the mayor.
However, Beni has been a target of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan group aligned with the Islamic State, whom officials have blamed for previous bombings in the area. Congo and Uganda initiated a military campaign against the ADF last month.
In June, two explosions hit a Catholic church in the city. The only person who died during that attack was the suicide bomber.
According to the Associated Press: “The Islamic State group’s Central Africa Province later said that the suicide bomber was targeting Christians. The other explosion that day went off inside a Catholic church, wounding two people.”