Defence Web has provided additional information on the misconduct that led to the withdrawal of 50 members of the South African MINUSCO contingent: the soldiers had gone AWOL in order to visit a brothel in Goma, DRC. Excerpts:
The soldiers are all from 121 SA Infantry Battalion at Mtubatuba in KwaZulu-Natal. A South African National Defence Force (SANDF) statement said: “The members were found to have acted in a manner that compromised the security of SANDF members deployed in the area by breaching or violating the SANDF Military Discipline Supplementary Measures Act and Code of Conduct as well as the UN Code of Conduct for Peacekeepers. They will face the military judicial system as soon as all necessary administration processes have been finalised”.
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Gauteng Afrikaans daily Beeld reports it will cost the SANDF about R1.5 million to bring the troublemakers home. An aircraft has to be tasked to collect them at Goma and there is no budget allocation for the unplanned expense.
Another problem facing the SANDF for its commitment to the MONUSCO and FIB [Force Intervention Brigade] deployment is that it has to replace soldiers removed. The SA Army does currently not have 50 soldiers on strength whose medical classification meets the required standard, the paper said.