GOMA, Congo (Reuters) - A 5.6 magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Democratic Republic of Congo early on Friday killed at least three people, the government spokesman said.
The quake hit 24 miles (40 km) north of Bukavu, not far from the border with Rwanda, at 3:25 a.m. on Friday, said the U.S. Geological Survey, which initially reported the quake at magnitude 5.8.
“There were three deaths - two children in a house in Bukavu. There was also a police officer near the airport,” government spokesman Lambert Mende told Reuters.
Sources in Bukavu said the toll could rise slightly but there was no evidence of widespread destruction in the town.
The quake raised concerns about Mount Nyiragongo, which is north of Goma and is Africa’s most active volcano. It erupted in 2002 sending a river of lava through the city.
The government sent a team of vulcanologists to the mountain to check for possible new fissures, Julien Paluku, the governor of North Kivu province, told Reuters.
North and South Kivu lie on Congo’s eastern border with Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, a region at the centre of a long conflict. The provinces are part of the Great Lakes region and North Kivu contains the Virunga forest as well as volcanoes.