At least nine people have been killed and 16 injured after an explosive device accidentally detonated in a field in conflict-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, local sources said on Thursday.
The blast occurred on Wednesday evening in Lubwe Sud in North Kivu province’s Rutshuru territory.
Justin Mwangaza, a local civil-society figure, told AFP that a civilian had picked up a bomb in a field and given it to a militiamen when it subsequently exploded.
Nine people were killed and 16 injured, he said.
A nurse at a nearby clinic confirmed the toll, explaining that two people died on the spot and seven later succumbed to their wounds.
Some of the 16 wounded people are in critical condition, the nurse said.
AFP was unable to independently confirm the death toll.
Armed groups have plagued much of eastern DRC for decades, a legacy of regional wars that flared in the 1990s and 2000s.
One such group, the M23, has captured swathes of territory in North Kivu since taking up arms again in late 2021 after years of dormancy.
The rebel campaign has displaced over one million people, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Independent UN experts, the DRC government and several Western nations including the United States and France accuse Rwanda of actively backing the M23, despite denials from Kigali.