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Two South African peacekeepers wounded in DRC
Written by defenceWeb reprinted from : http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=28506:two-south-african-peacekeepers-wounded-in-drc&catid=55:SANDF&Itemid=108
Two South African peacekeepers, part of the United Nations peacekeeping
force in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) were wounded
yesterday after being caught in a gun battle between the army and
The two soldiers were wounded in the eastern province of North Kivu,
following fighting between the army and the Mai Mai Sheka militia,
according to a spokesman for MONUSCO.
"The local population fled the fighting and others sought shelter at our
base and that's how the South African contingent deployed to protect
the population," Lieutenant Colonel Prosper Basse, a MONUSCO spokesman,
He added that both soldiers were evacuated to a hospital in Goma, North
Kivu’s regional capital. They are in a stable condition. One DRC army
soldier died in the clashes while around 20 were wounded, Basse said.
In late October, six United Nations peacekeepers and a local interpreter
were wounded in an ambush in eastern DRC. They were part of the Indian
contingent serving MONUSCO. An Indian peacekeeper was killed in the same
province in July when he was caught in a cross-fire in clashes between
the DRC's armed forces and a M23 rebels.
M23 rebels have been fighting Congolese government troops in North Kivu province for the last six months.
MONUSCO has around 17 000 uniformed personnel, who are trying to bring
stability and civilian elections to the vast country, which remains
affected by civil wars and rebel movements, notably in the restive east.
The latest incident involving South African peacekeepers comes after
South African National Defence Force Private Vincent Mthuthuzeli van der
Walt, of 10 South African Infantry Battalion, was killed on October 17
whilst travelling in a Unamid convoy in Sudan’s Darfur region. Two other
South African soldiers, Corporal Kabelo Ronald Sebe and Private Thabiso
Sydwell Makhetha, were injured.
Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga, Director Defence Corporate
Communication at the Department of Defence, said that casualties are to
be expected in operations “where life and death are involved,” and said
that the SANDF men and women who serve their country are willing to lay
down their lives when needed. “We regard them as our heroes.”
Around 2 000 SANDF personnel are currently taking part in peacekeeping
operations, as South Africa increases its role in regional conflict
resolution and peacekeeping efforts. SANDF troops are deployed in Sudan,
the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The SANDF has been involved in more than 15 peace support operations,
involving the deployment of around 2 500 military personnel. Deployment
areas for these operations have included the DRC, Burundi, Sudan, Côte
d’Ivore, Liberia, Nepal, CAR, the Comoros, and Mozambique.