Eight dead in Congo military camp explosion

Date

An explosion at a military camp bar on the outskirts of eastern Congo’s largest city has killed at least eight people.

The victims had gathered for drinks in the Katindo military camp at 7.40pm on Thursday, government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said on Twitter.

Witnesses at the scene told The Associated Press that a grenade caused the explosion, but there was no immediate official confirmation of the accounts.

The military camp is about five kilometres from the centre of Goma, a city near the Rwandan border that is home to a large United Nations peacekeeping mission presence.

“Teams are already on site to investigate,” Muyaya tweeted. 

“We call on the population to remain calm.”

The rare explosion in Goma comes amid mounting violence in eastern Congo, some of which has been blamed on militants with shadowy links to Islamic extremist organisations. 

Those fighters have deliberately targeted the Congolese military as soldiers have stepped up counterinsurgency operations.

Bars serving alcohol also have come under increasing attack, including a suicide bombing at a nightclub in the town of Beni on Christmas Day that killed six people. 

An Islamic State-affiliated group later claimed responsibility for those killings.

AAP

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