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Explosion at DRC displaced persons’ camp kills at least 9

Democratic Republic of Congo
Democratic Republic of Congo

Local officials and media reports in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo say at least nine people – most of them children – were killed Friday following an explosion or explosions at displaced persons camp in the eastern city of Goma.

From his X social media account, DRC journalist Daniel Michombero reported an explosion at the Mugunga displaced persons camp in Goma. He posted a video to his account showing the bodies of children among the rubble. VOA could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.

It was not immediately clear what kind of explosive device was used or who was responsible for the attack.

Witnesses and local officials reported seeing at least nine bodies at the scene and at least 20 wounded. A local hospital official told the French news agency AFP the facility had received 32 wounded and four bodies.

In a statement on his official X account, DRC government spokesman Patrick Muyaya blamed the Rwandan army and its “terrorist auxiliaries” the M23 rebels for the attack. He called the bombing “barbarity” and “horror in its most serious form!”

The DRC government, along with the United Nations and other Western countries, say M23, backed by the Rwandan government, has been waging an offensive in mineral-rich eastern Congo since 2021. The Rwandan government has denied its involvement.

At a U.N. Security Council meeting in March, U.N. special envoy for Congo Bintou Keita said that in recent months, the rebel group has made "significant advances and expanding its territory,” creating a more disastrous humanitarian situation.

She reported 23.4 million people suffer from food insecurity in the DRC, “meaning that 1 in 4 Congolese faces hunger and malnutrition, making the Democratic Republic of Congo the country most affected by food insecurity."

Earlier this year, U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the U.N. Robert Wood condemned "the aggressive military incursion" into eastern Congo by the M23 rebel group and the Rwandan Defense Force and attacks. He called on Rwanda and Congo to “walk back from the brink of war," the sharpest warning yet of a looming conflict.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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