Slain soldiers are heroes - minister

2013-03-28 16:43
(Nickolaus Bauer, via Twitter)

(Nickolaus Bauer, via Twitter)

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Pretoria - The 13 South African soldiers killed in the Central African Republic are heroes of the country, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said on Thursday.

"They were determined to fight until the last bullet. They were determined to defend what is theirs," she told their families in Pretoria.

"Your children are fighters, they have fought."

She said the soldiers were deployed in the CAR to help train soldiers of that country and they were happy to be deployed.

"Our mission was a good mission to train soldiers in the Central African Republic that the army does not kill civilians, but protects the country."

She said the fallen soldiers were brave.

"We shall not speak of them as cowards, they were brave and they fought until they died."

She pleaded with the bereaved families not to restrict their children from joining the defence force because their kin had been killed.

In the struggle to liberate South Africa, many people were killed fighting. This was also the case with the soldiers killed in the CAR.

"We fought so that the country could be free, we lost many children in Angola in a battle that had nothing to do with us," she said.

"This was not the first deployment and it will not be the last. We will remember your children as heroes. You must be proud of them."

Mapisa-Nqakula, flanked by her deputy Thabang Makwetla, shook the hands of the bereaved families before she spoke to them.

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