Curfew, checkpoints announced in Congo after suicide bombing

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Following the fatal suicide bomber incident, eastern Congo authorities unveiled evening curfew and new security checkpoints on Sunday.

Police colonel Beni Mayor Narcisse Muteba cautions bars, churches, and hotels in town that added security personnel is necessary, particularly armed with metal detectors, as “terrorists” could attack again.

“We are asking people to be vigilant and to avoid public places during this festive period,” he said on Sunday to The Associated Press.

North Kivu province’s military governor Brig. Gen. Constant Ndima said that a 7:00 p.m. curfew and additional road checkpoints will be in place.

The suicide bombing at the Inbox restaurant has killed six, as initially reported by officials, but it was reduced to five later in the day. It has also left 13 others hospitalized.

The incident intensified the fears that Beni has been heavily affected by Islamic extremism. Rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), who identify their origins in Uganda, have already been attacking the town for years.

The recent attack was blamed by officials on the rebel group.

Police officers inspect the scene of a bomb explosion in Beni, eastern Congo, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021. A bomb exploded at a restaurant Saturday as patrons gathered on Christmas Day, killing at least seven people in an eastern Congolese town where Islamic extremists are known to be active. (AP Photo/Al-hadji Kudra Maliro)

But the blame was owned up by the Islamic State’s Central Africa Province. The role of the larger organization on funding and supporting the attacks was however undetermined.

Beni has been suffering from indications of religious extremism, one being the killing of two imams earlier this year.

The Islamic State groups’ Central Africa Province took responsibility for a suicide bombing in June. The incident happened near a Beni bar, leaving the suicide bomber blew up while others were unharmed. The same day, two people were injured at a separate explosion at a Catholic church.

According to authorities, Saturday’s suicide bombing left bloodstains on the pavement. The suicide bomber was also prevented from entering the restaurant packed with customers.