A South African mercenary fighting the Boko Haram insurgents in north east Nigeria was killed in Bama, Borno State.
The man identified as Leon Lotz was reportedly killed in a friendly fire incident when a convoy he was travelling with was mistaken for that of Boko Haram insurgents, which prompted a military tank to open fire.
Lotz, a former South African Defence Force Koevoet operator turned private security contractor, reportedly from KwaZulu-Natal, and was involved in the support and maintenance of vehicles used by the Nigerian army in their ongoing offensive against Boko Haram.
There is a significant, albeit controversial, South African presence in north-eastern Nigeria. The Nigerian army is working with private security companies who employ South Africans, ostensibly to train troops in counter-terrorist activities.
Communication between these private security contractors and the Nigerian army is thought to be very poor, which perhaps explains the confusion leading to Lotz’s death.
In another, as-yet unverified report of a friendly fire incident in the Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State, Nigerian forces mistakenly opened fire on a convoy transporting foreign security contractors.
Two foreigners, one black and one Caucasian, were killed in the incident. It seems likely that this incident and the Lotz incident are the same.
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