The South African military said on Wednesday it had dismissed 47 peacekeepers serving in the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo for violating curfew.
South African National Defence Force (SANDF) spokesperson Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said the soldiers were fired for breaking a “curfew in the Eastern Congo where they were based” in September.
The soldiers actions “compromised the security of other” South African troops deployed in the area, he said.
“We don’t know where they were, who they were with and what could have happened thereafter,” he said.
They could have been kidnapped or killed, “thus creating a situation of insecurity for our personnel”, said Mabanga.
Some South African media speculated the soldiers had visited a pub frequented by sex workers in Goma, the capital of Congo’s North Kivu province, though the SANDF has stated it has no evidence of where the soldiers were at the time.
The troops were part of a 1 388-strong South African contingent, deployed to the UN’s force intervention brigade trying to bring peace to the country’s conflict-torn eastern region.
In all, the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Congo (MONUSCO) has about 20 000 uniformed personnel overseeing the disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation and reintegration programme for rebel groups.