Remains of two SA soldiers killed in DRC repatriated

Remains of 2 SA soldiers killed in DRC repatriated. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Remains of 2 SA soldiers killed in DRC repatriated. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Published Feb 22, 2024


The bodies of two SANDF members killed by a mortar bomb explosion in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) arrived in Pretoria on Wednesday.

The remains of Captain Simon Mkhulu Bobe and Lance Corporal Irven Thabang Semonowere were returned during a handover ceremony involving their uniformed colleagues at Air Force Base Waterkloof, Pretoria, yesterday.

Following a short prayer service, their flag-draped caskets were carried to vehicles on standby while military staff saluted the short procession.

The pair lost their lives as a result of a mortar bomb blast at the South African military base in the DRC on February 14.

They were attached to 1 South African Infantry Battalion, and deployed with 2 South African Infantry Battalion when they were killed.

The South African contingent is part of an SADC mission in the DRC deployed to support and assist the DRC government in its efforts to bring peace in the region.

Three other soldiers were injured in the attack believed to have been as a result of M23 rebels in the region, and hospitalised.

To date, two have been discharged while one remains in a stable condition in hospital, authorities reported.

South African Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise said losing an SANDF member was never good but losing the younger ones was even worse because they represented the future.

“If we are feeling pain you can imagine what the families are going through. There was a young widow and son there who was looking forward to their lives. When the general and I go to sleep tonight we will be thinking of them and the old lady who on her birthday gets not a song but the reality that he has been killed. It is very sad,” she said

Of the mission, Modise said there was commitment from Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa.

She said due to rich minerals in the African countries and outside influences, the conflict was to be expected. Their role was simply to help create space and peace to resolve the issues plaguing the country.

“We want to create space for them to come together and find peace amongst themselves because you can't find it when you are at each other's throats. Our role is about stabilising conditions so people can go back home, back to school and back to farming to provide for themselves.”

The Star