UN seeks further SA artillery for DRC

2013-08-30 12:06
SANDF (File)

SANDF (File)

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Pretoria - The United Nations has requested South African authorities to send additional artillery to the DRC, an official said on Friday.

SA National Defence Force joint operations chief Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi said the world body had yet to pay for the further deployments.

"They have requested a battalion from us and we have given them [the soldiers]. We [also] have three Oryx helicopters already on the ground," he told reporters in Pretoria.

"Then they have also asked us for additional helicopters and we said 'we will give you' but there must be something signed to that effect.

"When you give them, it speaks to the issues of reimbursement. We said 'we give you and you reimburse the country'."

Mgwebi said the UN was yet to sign the required documents for the additional weaponry to be sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"We have said to them we are ready and this is what it is going to mean to you [financially] as the UN, the rates."

"The ball is in their court, not in South Africa's," said Mgwebi.

1 345 SA troops in DRC

Last week, President Jacob Zuma informed Parliament that 1 345 soldiers had been deployed to the DRC as part of the UN Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in the eastern DRC.

The deployment of the FIB followed the passing of a UN resolution in March authorising a force to intervene in cases where negative forces threatened people's lives and property in the east of the DRC.

Zuma said on Thursday that no South African soldiers had been critically wounded in clashes with rebels in the DRC.

"Three of our soldiers have been injured in the conflict since the weekend, largely from shrapnel wounds. None have been seriously wounded," Zuma told reporters at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

"Our soldiers are well-trained and are ready for their responsibilities towards building a better and more peaceful Africa. South Africa has deployed troops in fulfilment of our international obligations towards the United Nations," he said.

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