KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — A bomb exploded at a market in eastern Congo on Wednesday, injuring at least a dozen people, authorities said.
An unknown person detonated a bomb inside a bag in North Kivu's Beni town, said Tharcisse Katembo, a local official.
“Damage was documented (and) at least 12 people were injured. They were injured in the lower limbs, others in their upper limbs and others were hit in the head," he told reporters in Beni.
The victims were taken to the hospital and an investigation was underway, Katembo said.
No one claimed responsibility for the bomb. However, attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces, which is believed to be linked with the Islamic State extremist movement, have been increasing in North Kivu, according to the United Nations.
Earlier this month, at least 14 people were killed and dozens injured in an attack on a church in Kasindi town, which was claimed by Islamic State. It said in its Aamaq news outlet that it planted an explosive device inside the church and detonated it while people were praying.
Since April, attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces have killed at least 370 civilians, and the group has abducted several hundred more, including a significant number of children, the U.N. says.
The explosion Wednesday occurred in a local market next to a cassava mill, witnesses said.
Danny Syaghuswa, 16, said he was sitting on his motorcycle when a man in a striped shirt put a small bag behind a door, saying he would come back for it, according to an interview with local reporters heard by The Associated Press. “Less than five minutes after he left the bomb exploded,” Syaghuswa said.
Images of the attack circulating on chat groups show bloodied people lying on the floor. One woman in blood-stained clothes was carrying a small child.
Violence has wracked eastern Congo for decades as more than 120 armed groups and self-defense militias fight for land and power. Nearly 6 million people are internally displaced, and hundreds of thousands are facing extreme food insecurity, according to the United Nations.