On 30 January 2018, SANDF members claim to have found a Congolese teenager stealing items belonging to South African soldiers.
Several South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers have been found guilty of assaulting a 17-year-old.
The South African military court handed down the guilty verdict on Monday afternoon. Initially, 16 SANDF members were charged with assaulting a 17-year-old Congolese citizen back in January. In a landmark ruling, reported on by eNCA, 11 SANDF soldiers were found guilty of contravening the the Prevention of Combating and Torture of Persons Act.
In regular legislative terms, the soldiers were found guilty of common assault and will be sentenced accordingly at a later stage.
South African soldiers assault minor for ‘stealing’
On 30 January 2018, SANDF members claim to have found a Congolese teenager stealing items belonging to South African soldiers. According to court documents, these items were said to have been plastic basins and buckets.
Soldiers then hauled the 17-year-old back to the SANDF military base. It was here that the teenager was assaulted. The minor sustained a minor wound as a result of the beating.
The contentious incident took place in Mbuji-Mayi in the Kasai Oriental province, of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and was subject to a thorough investigation following the teenager’s report.
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The SANDF members involved in the altercation were part of a joint-operations unit working as part of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) of Operation MISTRAL. The severity of the assault was exemplified by the mission’s endorsement under the flag of the United Nations’ (UN) peacekeeping efforts in the DRC.
SANDF presence in DRC clouded by controversy
This isn’t the first time South African soldiers operating in the DRC have come under ethical fire. Earlier in the year, investigations were launched into serious allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse. The alleged misconduct committed by five SANDF soldiers prompted the UN to call for an internal investigation and disciplinary procedures.
UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric explained that the incidents, while only investigated this year, stretch back as far as 2014, saying:
“According to the information available at this time, all five involve paternity and child-support claims. Four of the incidents were reportedly ongoing sexually exploitative relationships with adults. One incident concerns the sexual abuse of a minor, although she is now an adult.”
In October 2017, SANDF soldier, Private Elias Mogaki, murdered his girlfriend, Private Nomathemba Ngeleka, while both members of 5 South African Infantry Battalion were based in the DRC. Mogaki was dishonourably discharged and was handed a 20-year sentence for the slaying.
This news release does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SA-news.
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