The victims drowned in water trenches as they tried to flee fearing a rebel attack. Most of the dead include children and women. Paul Kapitula, the Chairperson of Civil Societies in Beni, says the drunken soldiers were dressed in plain clothes when they started shooting in the air prompting residents to flee in panic in fear of an attack by suspected Allied Democratic Force-ADF rebels.
He says the shooting occurred during a heavy down pour, which made residents think the rebels had taken advantage of the rain to trap them in their houses. According to Kapitula, 10 children are still missing. Nyonyi Bwanaka, the Mayor Beni, says all those behind the shooting were picked up.
Bwanaka urges residents who fled to Mangina and Butembo areas to return, saying the situation is under control. Colonel Olivier Hamuli, the North Kivu Province Army Spokesperson, says they are investigating the motive of the shooting by the soldiers.