Second SA combat group arrives in Cabo Delgado

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The first South African combat group to serve under Operation Vikela in Mozambique – Alpha – has done its time and the second – Bravo – has moved into the allocated operational area in Cabo Delgado.

Alpha, drawn from 2 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion, is replaced by 4 SAI.

The soldiers are deployed in the northern Mozambican province for a Southern African Development Community (SADC)/African Union (AU) scenario five mission. This entails combined operations with police, military and correctional services personnel working alongside civilians.

The rotation arrived at Pemba airport over an 11 day period between 17 and 28 April  with, according to outgoing Combat Team Alpha’s operational communication officers, “a single goal – to bring back peace and stability to Mozambique and the SADC region, particularly Macomia, Mueda and Nangade”, where the team had been operating for a year. They were transported by a chartered jet, apparently a Boeing 737.

Their report notes the incoming combat team was “greeted with a scorching 30 deg C and 80% humidity from a Bloemfontein weather situation of four seasons in one day”. This saw the new arrival disembark their aircraft wearing soon discarded bush jackets and gloves.

Welcoming the 4 SAI troops, SAMIM Force Commander, South African two-star general Xolani Mankayi, told them the waiting is over and “the business of the day starts now as they enter a region where their predecessors did outstanding work”. This was in reference to achievements in ensuring peace, stability and security for Mozambicans in Cabo Delgado.

He further “exhorted” the new arrivals to give the mission “their all” and warned them against abusing authority by “disregarding international human rights”.