Soldier commits suicide in Sudan – SANDF

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A South African National Defence Force (SANDF) member apparently committed suicide yesterday whilst deployed in Sudan, according to the SANDF.

Defence Media Liaison Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga in a statement released today said the incident happened at the Katum Base in Sudan.

He added that the name of the deceased soldier cannot be disclosed until the next-of-kin have been informed.

The SANDF has more than 800 troops deployed in Sudan with the African Union and United Nations as part of Unamid (their joint operation in Darfur).

The SANDF has recorded incidences in Sudan before. Four South African peacekeepers were kidnapped in April 2011 but later released without a ransom. On October 17, 2012, a South African soldier was killed and two injured during an ambush on a Unamid convoy in Darfur.

Mabanga at the time said that casualties were to be expected in operations where life and death are involved and that the SANDF men and women who serve their country are willing to lay down their lives when needed.

Thirteen soldiers were killed and another two later died of their wounds during a firefight in the Central African Republic in March this year while 17 SANDF members have died on border protection duties over the last three years.

SANDF head of communications Siphiwe Dlamini said not all border patrol deaths were as a result of contacts and firefights. “Deployed troops are exposed to a number of hazards including vehicle crashes, illnesses and diseases such as malaria as well as armed illegal immigrants and poachers.”

Around 2 000 SANDF personnel are currently taking part in peacekeeping operations, as South Africa increases its role in regional conflict resolution and peacekeeping efforts. SANDF troops are deployed in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.