Death toll from DR Congo blast revised down to six

Goma blast

National police officers visit the site of an explosion in the Katindo military camp in Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on April 7, 2022. 

Photo credit: Guerchom Ndebo | AFP

Authorities in DR Congo on Friday said six people died in a blast in the country's troubled east caused by a suspected bomb.

The previous toll from the explosion on Thursday in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, had been put at eight dead.

Goma's military governor, Constant Ndima, said the blast occurred in a bar located inside a military camp.

One suspected cause has been the accidental detonation of a grenade by a soldier.

"But my first impression... (is that) given the fragment impacts and the blast, I think it has to be an improvised explosive device," Ndima said, stressing that only an investigation would determine whether this was accurate.

The six dead include a colonel, a captain, three women and a child, he said.

North Kivu lies in a region that has been in the grip of armed groups for a quarter of a century, many of them a legacy of the Congo Wars of the 1990s and early 2000s.

One of the most notorious groups is the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which the Islamic State group bills as its local affiliate.

However, the Goma area of North Kivu has so far been spared ADF attacks.

Ndima said that the province was "facing jihadists, terrorism" but appealed to people to remain calm.

North Kivu and neighbouring Ituri province are under a so-called state of siege declared last May.

Under it, civilian leaders have been replaced by military or police officers, with the declared aim of boosting a crackdown on armed groups.

In late November, Ugandan troops joined DR Congo's army in an operation against the ADF, following bomb attacks in the Ugandan capital Kampala that were blamed on the group.

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