Rifleman Richman Hlanganani Nxele, a member of Regiment Noord Transvaal, has been named as the soldier who apparently committed suicide at Katum Base in Sudan earlier this week.
He was deployed as part of UNAMID, the African Union hybrid operation in Darfur, according to a statement issued by SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Director: Corporate Communications, Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga.
According to Afrikaans daily Beeld, the SA Army Reserve force member and some of his fellow soldiers were sitting talking outside a building at Katum when he jumped up and started swinging his rifle around. The soldiers who were with him ran away fearing he was going to shoot them.
“After he had fired eight times without hitting anyone the shots alerted a UNAMID reaction team. When the team arrived at the building the rifleman put the rifle barrel under his chin and pulled the trigger. He died instantly,” the paper reported.
He was one of about 800 South African soldiers serving with UNAMID, a joint AU/UN operation.
The leadership of the Department of Defence and the SANDF, including Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, General Solly Shoke and Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi have all conveyed condolences to Nxele’s family.