In a puzzling series of events, one active duty American service member and two veterans have been detained while attempting to cross from Kenya into South Sudan without visas, one Army official confirmed after reports surfaced on a military themed humor page known as U.S. Army W.T.F.! Moments
Pfc. Alex Zwiefelhofer, Army veteran Craig Austin Lang and former Marine William Wright-Martinovic were detained by Kenyan national police and are being held in the capitol of Nairobi while U.S. embassy officials coordinate with the authorities for the immediate transfer of Zwiefelhofer, who was marked Absent Without Leave (AWOL) from the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team last October.
“We are aware of the situation regarding [Pfc.] Alex Zwiefelhofer and are in the process of gathering all of the facts in this matter,” said Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, an 82nd Airborne spokesman. “We are working with the U.S. authorities in the area and trying to coordinate his movement to military control.”
Sudan has been embroiled in a civil war for close to four years, with both sides accused of heinous and egregious war crimes.
Officially there is no word on why the current and former military members sought to enter the country, but information gathered from Facebook shows that Lang and Zwiefelhofer spent time in Ukraine fighting alongside a Ukrainian militia known as the Right Sector, a far-right Ukrainian nationalist political party that originated in November 2013.
One former veteran who spent time contracting for foreign agencies said that one reason many veterans seek to travel to hostile environments of their own volition is to see action.
“Both Ukraine and the Sudan accept foreign fighters on a regular basis. Often times, veterans with a bit of experience on their side are welcomed among the ranks, and for those who felt like they did not do enough during their tenure with their own nations’ armed forces often wind up looking for action and adventure there,” said Kane Harlly, who served as a foreign contractor and fighter with Kurdish resistance forces.