SA troops for S Sudan?

2014-01-07 00:00

THE SA Defence Force has been asked to investigate the possibility of making a battalion of soldiers with armoured vehicles available for deployment to South Sudan.

The SANDF’s capacity to participate in foreign deployments is already stretched to the maximum and it would be difficult for it to release another 1 000 troops.

A meeting of the African Union in Addis Ababa next Monday and Tuesday, which SA will attend, will hopefully come up with a solution.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said at the weekend it would be difficult to make more SA soldiers available. She said South Africa could supply materiel, without elaborating.

SANDF spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said the meeting in Ethiopia, which is also hosting faltering ceasefire talks, will decide how to support a peace process. Dlamini said the SANDF is already involved in the UN peacekeeping force in Darfur, Sudan, and that troops could not be withdrawn from that force without UN agreement.

Military expert Helmoed-Römer Heitman said yesterday he believed the SA Air Force should be able to send four Gripen and four Hawk fighter planes, as well as a Rooivalk helicopter, supported by special forces soldiers.

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