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A bomb injures at least 12 near a market in Congo

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KINSHASA, Congo — A bomb exploded in a market in eastern Congo on Wednesday, injuring at least a dozen people, authorities said.

An unidentified person detonated a bomb inside a bag in the town of Beni in North Kivu, said Tharcisse Katembo, a local official.

“The damage was documented (and) at least 12 people were injured. They were injured in the lower limbs, others in the upper limbs and others were hit in the head,” he told reporters in Beni.

The victims were taken to hospital and an investigation was ongoing, Katembo said.

No one claimed responsibility for the bomb. However, attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces, believed to be linked to the extremist Islamic State movement, are 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 the Islamic State-claimed town of Kasindi. He said in his media outlet Aamaq that he placed an explosive device inside the church and detonated it while people were praying.

Since April, Allied Democratic Forces attacks have killed at least 370 civilians and the group has abducted several hundred more, including a significant number of children, according to the UN.

The blast happened at a local market next to a cassava mill on Wednesday, witnesses said.

Danny Syaghuswa, 16, said he was sitting on his motorbike 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 went off,” Syaghuswa said.

Footage of the attack circulating on chat groups shows bloodied people lying on the ground. A woman in bloodstained clothes was carrying a small child.

Violence has ravaged eastern Congo for decades as more than 120 armed groups and vigilante militias fight for land and power. Nearly 6 million people are internally displaced and hundreds of thousands face extreme food insecurity, according to the United Nations.

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