SA President humbled by soldiers’ ultimate sacrifice for peace in DR Congo

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is “deeply saddened’ by the deaths of two soldiers and injuries to 20 more during a mortar attack on a South African base at Sake in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The 25 June attack, credited to the M23 rebel group, brings to five the number of South African soldiers killed in combat since the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission to the DRC (SAMIDRC) deployed in December.

“President Ramaphosa offers his deep condolences to the families of the fallen troops as well as their commanders and colleagues,” a Presidency statement reads, in part adding “the President’s thoughts are also with the SANDF members who are recovering from their injuries”.

“As we mourn the deaths and casualties inflicted on our soldiers, we value and are humbled by the sacrifices they have made for the cause of peace and stability in our region and they shall not be forgotten,” it continues.

The President also assured the bereaved families and the injured troops that the SANDF will take the utmost care to provide the necessary logistical and psychosocial support to all those affected.

South African forces are part of SAMIDRC, along with Malawi and Tanzania, which was deployed on 15 December last year to support the DRC government in restoring peace and security in the eastern DRC. This was in response to an increase in conflicts and instability caused by the resurgence of armed groups, the Presidency statement has it.

South African soldiers and support personnel are deployed in Mozambique as part of another SADC mission set to wrap up operations in Cabo Delgado next month (July) after a three year-long deployment. Ramaphosa as SANDF Commander-in-Chief informed Parliament in April ahead of the 29 May general election that the South African military commitment would be extended to 31 December. The nine month extension will incur costs of R984 368 057.