Two SANDF Soliders Killed in Alleged Murder-Suicide in DRC

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Otago, New Zealand. As the Africa Desk Chief for Atlas, her expertise spans conflict, politics, and history. She is also the Editor for The ModernInsurgent and has interests in yoga and meditation.

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What You Need to Know:

Following the deaths of two SANDF soldiers killed when a mortar bomb hit their barracks in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last month, two more have died in an apparent murder-suicide. 

The soldiers involved in the incident have not been named although an official report states that, “the incident occurred when one of them shot and killed the other with their service weapon before turning the weapon on themselves with fatal consequences.” 

The soldiers were stationed in the DRC as a part of the United Nations MONUSCO mission in the country, which aims to repel encroaching M23 rebels, particularly in the nation’s east which has been ravaged by fighting in recent weeks. 

It has been announced that the SANDF will launch a board of inquiry into the two soldiers deaths in conjunction with MONUSCO. 

The Details: 

According to Dr Emmanuel Matambo of the University of Johannesburg, deaths such as these are not ‘uncommon’ in conflict zones. 

A similar incident occurred in Nigeria in early February, when a Nigerian soldier shot his superior Officer before being neutralized. 

These occurrences however, are indicative of a larger problem prevalent among members of armed forces globally. Mental health services are oftentimes subpar, particularly when soldiers are in active conflict zones. 

Currently, the mental health services available to Southern African Development Community (SADC) members partaking in the MONUSCO mission are not public knowledge. 

However, Former Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, did claim during a 2019 Parliamentary session that “All [SANDF] members have access to the full spectrum of clinicians in managing mental disorders. The SAMHS does have management and defusing programmes in place to render care after traumatic incidents and after every deployment.”