A South African soldier succumbed to a ‘friendly fire’ incident in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Thursday 3 June, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has announced.
A brief statement from the Directorate: Corporate Communication (DCC) of the SANDF said the soldier succumbed to his injuries sustained during a military operation in Kilia, located near the city of Beni, in eastern North Kivu.
This was the same area a Malawian peacekeeper was killed on 10 May during clashes with the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group.
Security conditions in eastern DRC, including Beni, have worsened in recent months, with increased violence attributed to various armed groups, including the ADF, that has left hundreds dead.
The SANDF said the name of the deceased soldier is Private Simanga Arthur Khuselo (37), a member stationed at Unit 1 Tactical Intelligence Regiment in Potchefstroom. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Funeral arrangements will be announced as soon as the family has finalised the details.
The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the Deputy
Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Thabang Makwetla, the Secretary for Defence,
Sonto Kudjoe, and the Chief of the South African National Defence Force, General
Rudzani Maphwanya, extended their condolences to the family, colleagues and friends
of the deceased.
South Africa has over a thousand soldiers deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the United Nations peacekeeping mission there (MONUSCO). They form part of the multi-country peacekeeping mission and its Force Intervention Brigade (FIB). The FIB is staffed by three Southern African countries – Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania – and is currently the only UN peacekeeping component with an offensive mandate in executing its civilian protection tasking.