A suicide bomber struck a restaurant in the city of Beni in east Congo on Saturday, killing at least five people and the bomber.
The attack marks the latest violence in a region where Congolese and Ugandan forces have launched a campaign against suspected Islamists.
“The suicide bomber, prevented by security guards from entering a crowded bar, activated the bomb at the entrance of the bar,” the regional governor’s spokesman, Général Ekenge Sylvain, said in a statement.
Six people died in the blast and 14 were injured, including two local officials, he added.
Sylvain said that insurgents from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group aligned with Islamic State, had activated a “sleeper cell” in Beni to target citizens, but he did not provide evidence connecting them to the explosion.
The ADF did not immediately claim responsibility for the attack.
Congo and neighbouring Uganda launched a military campaign in the area at the end of November against the ADF. Officials have previously blamed the group for bombings in the region. read more
Beni’s mayor, Narcisse Muteba Kashale, earlier told local radio that a bomb had exploded in the city centre.
“For safety, I’m asking the population to stay home,” the mayor said.
Beni was rocked by two explosions in June at a Catholic church and at a busy intersection. No one was killed in either blast except the suspected bomber, who was killed by the second explosion.