Recently appointed MONUSCO Commander, Brazilian Lieutenant General Otavio Filho, called on the South African battalion headquarters in Beni, a hotspot in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
He was welcomed by Lieutenant Colonel Tondani Radzilani, Officer Commanding 10 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion. The Mafikeng-based unit is the current South African contribution to the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) of the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in the troubled central African country.
Following a status briefing on the current RSABATT, the South American three-star addressed the troops emphasising the overall aim of bringing peace and stability to the eastern DRC.
Before touching down at RSABATT HQ, Filho was at Alpha Company’s permanent operating base (POB) and Bravo Company’s temporary operating base (TOB) where he heard details of specific responsibilities from company commanders – Major Mogorosi Bareki (Alpha) and Major Gugu Faltein (Bravo).
RSABATT communication, in the form of Joint Operations personnel, report Filho’s visit coincided with an ambush on Alpha Company elements at Mabelengwa north of Ituri. “South African troops reacted with ease leaving no one injured,” the report has it.
“On behalf of the Republic of South Africa Battalion (RSABATT), we wish to thank you, General, that out of your busy schedule you made time to visit us. Your visit in itself is motivating that we work hard for the restoration of peace and stability in the Eastern DRC,” Radzilani told Filho before he left the Beni base.
Filho’s visit came on the heels of FIB Commander Brigadier General Enoch Ntonya calling on the South African Erengeti POB and Maya Moya TOB. He commended the men and women of 10 SAI for their “robust day and night patrols” telling them that while they might not see the “far-reaching implications” of their work it was important.
Filho is the ranking MONUSCO officer in DRC since taking over from Lieutenant General Marcos Affonso in March.