South African soldiers attached to the UN Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been commended by SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Chief General Solly Shoke for bravery and commitment under fire.
An SANDF quick reaction force (QRF) was activated following an attack on a base at Ngite, north of Mavivi in the northeastern DRC. En route to assist, the South Africans came under attack from what is believed to be Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) soldiers last Thursday.
An SA navy officer currently deployed in the DRC told defenceWeb the Ngite base commander called the South Africans for support. A Charlie Company platoon was deployed as a QRF, Lieutenant (SAN) Obed Medupe said.
“The platoon drove through the ambush while elements of Charlie Company fought their way through. On arrival at Ngite camp the South Africans found a number of FARDC (DR Congo regulars) first line of defence trenches occupied by ADF soldiers.
“The lieutenant in command exited the Mamba and instructed those reporting to him to use grenade launchers to move the ADF soldiers. This saw ADF exit the trenches taken from FARDC and they then were in the firing line for the 12.7 machine gun mounted on the Mamba.
“While this engagement was underway the remainder of the QRF held ground on the other side of the FARC camp and forced the rebels to seek safety in dense jungle adjacent to the road,” Medupe told defenceWeb.
Twenty-three ADF soldiers were killed in the firefight, with a large number of weapons, including AK-47s, PKMs, light machineguns, mortars and ammunition recovered.
One South African soldier sustained a gunshot wound to his foot but was treated on the scene and is said to be stable following the firefight.
An SANDF Directorate: Corporate Communications Statement has it that “the deeds of bravery and committed service in pursuance of peace demonstrate SANDF soldiers are well equipped for any task and committed to the realisation of stability on the continent. The Chief of the SANDF would like to reassure South Africans their soldiers have regrouped and resumed their mandate as part of the main force tasked by the United Nations to advance peace and stability in the DRC”.