SA warns DRC rebels 'hands off Goma'

2013-08-30 15:25
SANDF soldiers (File: AFP)

SANDF soldiers (File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - South Africa has warned rebels fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo not to try and retake the battleground city of Goma on Friday after a week of escalating violence.

South Africa is part of the UN peace enforcement military task force to the country's troubled eastern region bordering on Rwanda.

Goma, a mining hub and town of a million people, was briefly held by M23 rebels earlier in the year and still remains under threat.

"We're trying to send a message to the M23, this time around you're not going to see Goma," said Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi, South Africa National Defence Force Chief of Joint Operations.

"Don't venture in ideas of taking over again."

South African soldiers are part of a UN intervention brigade, a 3 000-strong contingent with an unprecedented offensive mandate to fight entrenched armed movements, marking a strategic change of tack from traditionally peaceful UN missions.

"This is the first time that a UN peacekeeping force has had as its sole mandate the seeking out and neutralising of rebel groups," said Darren Olivier, a senior correspondent at the African Defence Review, an organisation focused on African security.

"While UN peacekeeping missions in the past have on occasion directly engaged rebel forces, they have done so as part of mandates to defend themselves or population centres only," he said.

Indiscriminate shelling

Fresh fighting flared in the resource-rich eastern DR Congo Thursday, with government forces backed by UN troops shelling rebels near Goma and tensions spilling over into neighbouring Rwanda.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday accused M23 rebels of "indiscriminate shelling" inside the DRC and into Rwanda, where authorities said a woman was killed in artillery fire on Thursday.

"He also calls on all member states with influence in the region to assist in easing tensions," in a statement released by his spokesman Martin Nesirky.

South African snipers have killed at least six M23 rebels in recent days as Ukranian Mi-24P helicopters pounded M23 positions from the air.

Olivier said the United Nations has a significant military edge over their M23 adversaries.

"The biggest advantages they have at the moment are its artillery batteries, mortar teams, special forces commandos and the two Mi-24P attack helicopters providing air support," he said.

This allows the UN forces to "provide effective assistance without needing to engage its infantry battalions directly".

The M23 rebel movement is a predominantly ethnic Tutsi force that deserted from the army last year and has been battling the regular army.

This week the UN force has seen intensified fighting as it attempts to keep rebels from Goma. The fighting took place in Kibati, an area in the northern outskirts of Goma.

Escalating violence 

"Bombs were landing in the airport and in the town," they were "falling left and right" of the South African Munigi base, according to notes distributed by the South African military.

M23 mortars killed a Tanzanian United Nations peacekeeper and injured ten others on Wednesday, according Mgwebi.

"Three of our soldiers have been injured in the conflict since the weekend, largely from shrapnel wounds. None have been seriously wounded," said President Jacob Zuma on Thursday.

South Africa is contributing 1 345 troops to the UN mission, representing approximately half of the intervention brigade.

The escalating violence is a sensitive issue in South Africa, after 15 of the country's soldiers were killed in the Central African Republic in March, amid criticism that the troops were unprepared and did not have adequate equipment.

But Mgwebi said the troops deployed to date have received training and are protected. "They've got something on the ground and fire support is being provided as we speak," he said.

Read more on:    un  |  m23  |  sandf  |  ban ki-moon  |  jacob zuma  |  rwanda  |  central african republic  |  tanzania  |  sa  |  drc  |  central africa  |  southern africa  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
40 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Hottie of the day: Nicole Meyer!

Nicole is the cover girl for the 2014 edition of SA Swimsuit! Check out some smoking hot pics of here here.

 
 

Men24.com

11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!
This is how the Top Gear presenters spend their £55 million!
Thirty and still single? There’s hope!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Customer Service Advisor

Cape Town
Teleresources Cape Town
R5 000 Per Month

Collections agents

Cape Town
The Ideal Crew
R5 000 - R15 000 Per Month

Database Administrator

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Communicate Cape Town IT
R45 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It may be hard to stay cool, calm and collected. Your emotions can get quite heated in the moment. You may benefit from finding a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

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.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








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.