The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has announced that one of its members were shot and killed in a friendly fire incident in Kila, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), on Thursday morning, 4 June.
SANDF spokesperson, Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi, said the details about the incident remain scant, but it appears that a South African soldier was caught in crossfire from friendly troops while on a peacekeeping operation in Kila, DRC.
“Details of this unfortunate incident are still sketchy at the moment, and a Board of Inquiry has been convened to investigate the causes that led to this incident,” said Mgobozi.
The spokesperson said the identity of the deceased will be confirmed once the South African military has “formally” informed the soldier’s family and the next of kin.
“The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the Deputy Minister, Thabang Makwetla, the Secretary for Defence, Sonto Kudjoe and the Chief of SANDF, General Rudzani Maphwanya extend their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends and loved ones of the deceased,” said Mgobozi.
At least 70 people have been killed in the troubled eastern part of the DRC since the start of the week, according to AFP.
The latest reported killings came early on Wednesday, when 11 miners in the gold-rich territory of Djugu in the northeastern province, Ituri, were killed by a local group called FPIC, according to district mayor Jean-Pierre Pikilisende.
The mayor told AFP that the militia came into the area with the aim of taking control of the gold there is mined mostly by poor artisanal diggers.
The government is attempting to stifle the violence, in the region, and has placed Ituri and North Kivu two neighbouring provinces under a “state of siege.” A state of siege is the replacement of civilian officials with senior soldiers or police officers.
At the start of the week, on Sunday, the region suffered one of its biggest losses in recent history when 53 people were killed overnight in two Ituri villages.