Zuma: Be proud of slain soldiers

2013-04-02 14:04
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Soldiers' memorial service

See the latest pictures of the memorial service held for 13 South Africa soldiers who were killed in the CAR.

Pretoria - South Africa must be proud of the 13 soldiers killed in the Central African Republic (CAR), President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

"From every corner of our country South Africans have expressed their pain and outrage at the death of our soldiers."

Zuma was speaking in Pretoria at a memorial service for 13 soldiers killed on Saturday, 23 March, when they were attacked by Seleka rebel fighters.

He said the soldiers fought bravely against the rebels.

"We salute them and honour them for the supreme sacrifice they paid for the achievement of peace in Africa."

The soldiers were able to stand their ground even though they were outnumbered by rebel fighters.

Zuma said there had been attempts to cast doubt and distort the purpose of South Africa's involvement in the CAR.

"We will not be side-tracked by those who are on a perpetual campaign against democratic government."

He said the soldiers were sent to the CAR in pursuit of national interests and the interests of the African continent.

"Our servicemen died for a worthy cause. They died in defence of the country's foreign policy. They died defending our commitment to the renewal of the African continent and the promotion of peace and stability."

Zuma said South Africa sent soldiers to the CAR in line with an agreement signed in 2007 in which South Africa was to train the CAR army.

An additional 200 soldiers were sent to the CAR when security deteriorated late in 2012 to protect trainers and SA military assets already in CAR.

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) was assessing the events leading to the deaths of the 13 soldiers.

"It is necessary to avoid similar losses of life in future and in current deployments," he said.

Read more on:    sandf  |  jacob zuma  |  central african republic  |  car uprisings  |  central africa

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