SA soldiers wounded in Sudan ambush ‘critical but stable’

2014-10-31 08:57

Two South African National Defence Force soldiers deployed as part of a United Nations/African Union peacekeeping force in Sudan have been wounded in an ambush near their base.

“The injured soldiers were airlifted by helicopter to a UN hospital in El Fasher shortly after the ambush. The two members are in a critical but stable condition,” said Captain Jaco Theunissen yesterday.

He said two other soldiers sustained minor injuries during the attack.

The ambush took place at approximately 12.35pm on Wednesday when a section of 4 SA Infantry Battalion, who had to fetch water from a nearby water hole in Kutum, came under fire from a suspected rebel group.

“Had it not been for the swift reaction, high standard of alertness and vigilance of the defence force members, it could have been a different story,” said the battalion commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Andries Matlaila.

Matlaila said the training his troops received in South Africa prior to the deployment, coupled with the equipment they used, played a pivotal role in repelling the attack.

The rebel group, whose intentions were unknown, were forced to withdraw due to the outstanding retaliation by the South Africans, he said.

This attack followed similar attacks earlier on Ethiopian and Tanzanian forces in the vicinity of Korma, about 20 kilometres away from the South African deployments near Kutum base, in the Northern Darfur region of Sudan.

The incident happened at a time when the Sudanese people were preparing for their national elections scheduled for April or May next year. The SANDF, as part of the peacekeeping force, would be required to support the elections.

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