South African soldiers are again coming under fire in a messy conflict in central Africa. This time, the setting is the Democratic Republic of Congo. What are we doing there, and why are we on the attack?
First, the good news, as clarified on Thursday by South African National Defence Force (SANDF) spokesman Xolani Mabanga: no South African soldiers have been killed or seriously injured in fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, despite contradictory reports on social media.
"This is just mere propaganda and psychological warfare from the rebel forces who want to portray their so called success against the DRC government troops," added Mabanga.
But our soldiers were not completely unscathed.
Two were injured on Wednesday as South African troops provided support to the Congolese army (one was shot, the other hit by shrapnel), while a third soldier was wounded by shrapnel when a mortar landed close to their base in Goma.
Mabanga told Daily Maverick that these were all minor injuries and the affected soldiers are in good condition.
Still, the news that South African troops are coming under hostile fire, and not for the first time this year, raises a few questions....