Memorial for 15 SA soldiers killed in CAR

2017-04-05 22:44
President Jacob Zuma and President Faustin-Archange Touadera of the Central African Republic addressing the media today. (Nation Nyoka, News24)

President Jacob Zuma and President Faustin-Archange Touadera of the Central African Republic addressing the media today. (Nation Nyoka, News24)

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Pretoria – A memorial will be erected in the Central African Republic for the 15 South African soldiers killed there in 2013, the country’s president said on Wednesday.

“There are soldiers who shed their blood in the country. This gesture will help us to strengthen peace and solidarity between the two countries,” Faustin-Archange Touadera said at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria, where he met President Jacob Zuma for talks.

Touadera thanked Zuma, and the people of South Africa for supporting the country during its crisis.

Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, said the memorial would give the families of the soldiers and South Africans a sense of comfort. She said she was happy that something had been done to remember their contribution in the CAR.

CAR underwent massive political and religious conflict, which resulted in the toppling of longtime president François Bozizé by the predominantly Muslim Seleka rebel group in March 2013.

The SANDF first deployed troops in the CAR in 2007. On March 23, 2013, Seleka rebels en route to the capital Bangui killed 15 South African soldiers and wounded 27. South Africa subsequently withdrew its remaining forces from the country.

Zuma commended Touadera on his efforts to curb terrorism by rebels and maintain peace during elections.

“CAR has just emerged from some difficulties. They succeeded to navigate the situation until they had very peaceful elections that elected the president. We have congratulated him for that important development in the continent,” he said.

The meeting was intended to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries. Zuma said they had good discussions about security and the economy.

“We need to strengthen our ties in the economy. They are very keen that investors from South Africa should come to the Central African Republic, so that we could have a kind of economic interaction that will benefit both countries. As you know, CAR is a very rich country, and they feel we could work very hard taking the experience of the companies in South Africa,” he said.

Both presidents encouraged government and the private sectors to take advantage of opportunities for bilateral trade and investment.

Mapisa-Nqakula said South Africa would not be sending troops to the CAR. This was in line with what the two presidents had agreed on.

Read more on:    sandf  |  jacob zuma  |  nosiviwe maphisa-nqakula  |  central african republic

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