SA recalls peacekeepers

SA recalls peacekeepersJOHANNESBURG. — Dozens of South African peacekeepers serving in the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo are being recalled home for security breaches, the military said yesterday.

South African National Defence Force spokesperson Brigadier-General Xolani Mabanga told AFP that 50 soldiers are being withdrawn from the mission to face disciplinary steps back home.

“The number as of now, over 13 incidents, comes to 50,” said Mabanga

“One of the reasons is that they violated the curfew,” Mabanga added, refusing to give further details because investigations are still ongoing.

South Africa deployed 1 388 soldiers as part of a UN intervention brigade trying to bring peace to the conflict-torn eastern DRC region.

In all the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Congo (Monusco) counts about 20 000 uniformed personnel overseeing the disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation and reintegration programme for rebels groups.

In 2005, the UN banned peacekeepers from having relations with Congolese residents after allegations emerged that soldiers had sexually abused 13-year-old girls.

The South African troops are awaiting conclusion of administrative formalities before they return home, said Mabanga. — AFP.