Avatar photo

By Gareth Cotterell

Digital Editor

Eight SANDF soldiers sent home after allegations of sexual abuse in DRC

The South African soldiers were detained by the United Nations Military Police and have been accused of sexual exploitation.

Eight South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers have been sent home from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) after being accused of serious misconduct, including sexual abuse. 

Serious acts of misconduct

The SANDF said it took this step after receiving a United Nations report containing allegations of serious acts of ill-discipline and misconduct.

ALSO READ: SANDF investigates video of soldiers allegedly manhandling man

The soldiers were deployed under the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

“It is alleged in the UN report that on Sunday, 1 October 2023, eight SANDF soldiers deployed in Beni were apprehended by the United Nations Military Police for being in direct breach of the curfew time and other regulations related to sexual exploitation and abuse,” the SANDF said.

It said it only became aware of the allegations through the media.

“The reporting procedure was not followed by the United Nations because the RSA defence advisor nor the RSA United Nations representative were not informed as per the standard operating procedure for all [troop contributing countries].”

ALSO READ: Soldier arrested for stealing rifle and ammunition from military base and then selling them

SANDF soldiers recalled

The soldiers have been recalled to South Africa so they can give their version of the events that occurred in Beni.

“Due to the serious nature of the allegations, the SANDF took a decision to recall the implicated soldiers back to South Africa to answer to the allegations and to give account of events that transpired.

“Furthermore, national investigating officers (NIOs) have been dispatched to the MONUSCO deployment area to conduct a formal investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, the SANDF will pronounce itself.”

ALSO READ: Who will defend SA? Budget cuts weaken SA’s defence forces

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits