TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese Self-Defense Forces personnel taking part in a U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan were briefly detained by South Sudanese government forces on Saturday, the Japanese Defense Ministry said.
Five Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers were detained for around an hour before being released unharmed. Their weapons were confiscated but soon returned, the ministry said.
According to the ministry, South Sudanese troops detained the Japanese peacekeepers as part of a weapons search, unaware that U.N. peacekeepers are exempt from being searched.
The South Sudan government has apologized to the Japanese government for the "misunderstanding."
The Japanese government said on March 10 it will end the SDF's participation in the mission in South Sudan at the end of May, citing a diminishing need for the troops' help in building infrastructure.
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