Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


SA mercenary killed in Borno state

12 March 2015, 19:00

Kano - A South African mercenary was shot and killed by friendly fire during operations against Boko Haram in Borno state, a military officer and a civilian vigilante said on Thursday.

The vigilante, who asked not to be identified for security reasons, said the man died on Wednesday as Army soldiers fought to recapture the town of Bama in Borno state.

Also read: Many killed as armed men rob Lagos bank

"He was killed when a convoy he was travelling with was mistaken for that of Boko Haram insurgents, which prompted a military tank to open fire," he added.

The military officer, who also requested anonymity, confirmed the account, describing the death as "friendly fire".

Nigeria and its allies last month began a fight-back against the Islamist group, whose violent insurgency has killed more than 13,000 and forced some 1.5 million from their homes since 2009.

On Wednesday, the government in Abuja said 36 towns had been recaptured since the coalition operation began, dealing a blow to the militants' territorial ambitions in the remote northeast.

Ground operations have been backed by air strikes, while all four armies involved from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon have claimed that Boko Haram has suffered heavy casualties.

There was no immediate response from the government when contacted by AFP about the claims of foreign mercenaries assisting the operation.

But an Afrikaans-language website in South Africa, Netwerk 24, identified the victim of the friendly fire incident as Leon Mare Lotz, describing him as a private military contractor.

His wife, Almari, was quoted as saying: "I just know Leon was killed. I know that he went to Nigeria with his eyes wide open and was aware that it was a dangerous operation.

"He was with some of his brothers-in-arms who have walked a path with him for many years."

The report said Lotz's driver was also killed in the shooting, which was attributed to a "miscommunication".

In an interview with Voice of America, published on Wednesday, President Goodluck Jonathan said "foreign technicians" were present in northeast Nigeria to assist the military.

Two companies were involved in the training but he did not identify the firms or indicate the trainers' nationalities or numbers.

Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga, spokesman for the South African defence department, said he could not confirm Lotz's death.

"What I know is from the press but (he's) not a serving member of the SANDF (South African National Defence Force," he said, adding that Lotz may have previously been with the military.

The civilian vigilante in Maiduguri said: "To be frank, there are efforts to hush up the story (of Lotz's death) by the military.

"Nobody wants to talk about it because they have been asked not to say anything about it."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...