Islamic State claims church bombing in Congo; 14 dead

Islamic extremists claimed responsibility for a church bombing in eastern Congo, when authorities said on Monday the death toll from Sunday’s attack had risen to at least 14.

The group “Islamic State” and its news agency Aamaq issued statements that their militants planted and detonated an explosive device in the Pentecostal church in Kasindi while people were praying.

“Let Congolese forces know that their continued attacks on the mujahideen will only bring them more failures and casualties,” the group said in its statement.

The extremists claimed the bomb killed 20 Christians. The Congolese authorities put the number of victims on Monday at 14 dead and at least 63 injured.

The injured were evacuated to Beni General Hospital by the UN peacekeeping mission known as MONUSCO, authorities said.

Violence has plagued eastern Congo for decades, while 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 face extreme food insecurity, according to the UN

Fighters for the Allied Democratic Forces, a rebel organization believed to have ties to Islamic State, have carried out several attacks in Kasindi, on the border with Uganda.

Ugandan Army troops are stationed in eastern Congo to try to contain the violence, but attacks have increased and spread. ADF attacks since April have killed at least 370 civilians and kidnapped several hundred others, according to a United Nations report last month.

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