SA forces play key role in DRC

2013-09-01 09:21
SANDF (File)

SANDF (File)

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Pretoria - South African soldiers have been at the forefront of attacks on rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and were instrumental, along with a UN force, in repelling the M23 rebels as they rained rockets on the town of Goma.

The Sunday Times reported that a visit to the front line at Kibumba on Saturday, made it possible to piece together the events of last week. South African National Defence Force commander Colonel Patrick Dube also confirmed that his troops played a leading role in repelling the rebels. 

Congolese troops said support from South African troops had been invaluable. “We fought with the South Africans yesterday and today,” said one soldier near the frontline on Thursday.

Conflicting reports

Local commanders said the number of South African soldiers wounded had risen to five, but SANDF spokesperson Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said yesterday the official figure remained at three.

The region is reportedly on a knife-edge, which is threatening to escalate into an all-out war. 

The latest report contradicts previous bulletins from the frontline, which said that SANDF soldiers were not engaging directly in combat against the rebels in the area.

SANDF spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said that the South Africans were in a defensive line, as part of the United Nations' Monusco peacekeeping mission.

Last month, SAPA reported that 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. Zuma confirmed then that no South African soldiers had been critically wounded in clashes with rebels in the DRC.

"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.

Read more on:    sandf  |  drc

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