A drunk South African army officer laid siege to a police station where his men were being held after being caught in an illegal drinking den, it has been claimed, The Mail Online reports.
The senior officer is alleged to have flown into a drunken rage when he learned his men had been arrested in the town of Oudtshoorn, near the country’s south coast.
A complaint against him says he charged down to the local police station and surrounded it with 120 soldiers and two armoured personnel carriers to demand the men’s release.
The arrested soldiers – alleged to include at least one other officer – had been found by police at an illegal drinking den, where they were celebrating a change of command at the training base.
According to an official complaint filed by South Africa’s military union, the senior officer – whom it did not name – mobilised his troops when he heard of his men’s fate.
‘A certain Army general who, whilst allegedly intoxicated, unlawfully mobilised armed soldiers and armoured infantry fighting vehicles in order to free a senior ranking officer and several other soldiers’, it said.
According to local media, the troops surrounded Oudtshoorn’s Bongolethu police station. The police locked their station door and armed themselves.
After negotiation, they agreed to release the arrested soldiers.
The South African National Defence Union (Sandu) said it was ‘utterly dismayed’ the incident, calling it a ‘military-backed armed insurrection against the police’
Sandu claimed that its members had been banned from speaking out about last Saturday’s incident.
‘Soldiers in Oudtshoorn were warned by military authorities to remain silent about this incident or face disciplinary measures,’ said Sandu’s national secretary Pikkie Greeff.
‘We demand that the South African National Defence Force immediately suspends the (officer) involved and investigate charges of intimidation and sedition against him.
‘Clearly his conduct displays utter abuse of rank and the belief that he is above the law.
‘In addition, his conduct illustrates that he cannot be trusted in a position of military authority and that he is irresponsible and dangerous, being in command of military personnel and equipment.’