Over a dozen people have lost their lives in various incidents that followed a shooting in the troubled eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, a local official says.
The development occurred in the Congolese city of Beni on Saturday when a drunken soldier in civilian clothes fired four shots from his gun, causing panic among a crowd, according to Beni’s mayor, Jean Edmond Nyonyi.
“Eight people drowned when they threw themselves in the river, four were killed in accidents and one person died of a heart attack,” Nyonyi said, without elaborating.
Beni, where fears of gun violence run deep, lies in a conflict-ridden and unstable region of the DR Congo, with more than 700 people killed since October 2014 in massacres blamed on militants from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
The ADF was founded in Uganda in 1995 and later moved to the impoverished DR Congo, and spread its reign of violence particularly in the North Kivu Province.
In its almost two decades of presence there, the rebel group has been accused of committing serious human rights violations, including recruiting child soldiers and rape, against local population.
The Congolese army, joined by UN troops, is on the offensive against the ADF and other rebel groups.
The Saturday fatalities took place a day after heavy fighting between security forces and militants loyal to a slain tribal leader in the Central African country claimed dozens of lives from both sides.
The DR Congo is reeling from post-election unrest.