Congo officials ask to step up security in wake of Christmas Day suicide bomber attack
Congo officials have urged local businesses to step up security measures in the wake of a Christmas Day suicide bombing that killed five people, The Associated Press reported.
Police colonel Beni Mayor Narcisse Muteba told the newswire that authorities asked residents to be vigilant and avoid public places during the holiday period.
Muteba has warned business owners in Beni that they need to add security guards with metal detectors because “terrorists” could strike again, according to the AP.
“We are asking people to be vigilant and to avoid public places during this festive period,” Muteba said on Sunday.
Muteba also blamed the latest attack on rebels whose exact links to international extremist groups are unclear.
The latest attack also worsened fears that Islamic extremism has taken ahold of the city, which has suffered numerous attacks over the years by rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the AP reported. However, no one has immediately claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack.
The bomber blew himself up near the entrance of a restaurant after he had been stopped from entering it.
Witness Rachel Magali, who was at the restaurant, described hearing a loud noise and people crying for help after the attack, the AP noted.
“We rushed to the exit where I saw people lying down,” Magali said. “There were green plastic chairs scattered everywhere and I also saw heads and arms no longer attached. It was really horrible.”