The Commander of the United Nations Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South African National Defence Force Brigadier General Monwabisi Dyakopu, has visited FIB bases before his tour of duty ends.
Next month, he will be handing over to the incoming Force Intervention Brigade Commander from the Tanzania People’s Defence Force.
Dyakopu’s first stop was Tchabi, far north of the Force Intervention Brigade area of responsibility where members of the South African Infantry Battalion (RSABATT) are deployed, followed by Mamove where there is an element of the Tanzania Battalion (TANZBATT). Lastly, he finished the day in Kamango where other members of the Tanzania Battalion are based, the SANDF said.
The following day (18 August), the FIB Commander visited South African bases in Eringeti and Mayi Moya. In all these bases the Force Intervention Brigade Commander was welcomed with a briefing by the base commanders and an intelligence briefing by the Intelligence Officers. He then addressed the troops, informing them about previous operations, current ongoing operations and future operations that will be taking place within their area of responsibility.
He commended them on a job well done in their respective bases and areas of responsibility. To emphasize a few successes, Dyakopu congratulated Alpha Company for their bravery in protecting their base during an attack from ADF rebels, which they survived with no injuries. He again congratulated Bravo Company in Tchabi after it responded to an alert in its area of responsibility and engaged rebels in an exchange of fire – this saw no injuries sustained and 11 surrenders from the rebel side.
Dyakopu is no stranger to the central African country, with three completed tours of duty there to his credit. In addition to tours in the DRC, Dyakopu also has an Eritrea/Ethiopia deployment under his belt. Acknowledgement of his ability in peacekeeping saw him assist in the establishment of the SA National Defence Force peace mission training centre in the grounds of the Army College in 2006. He was part of the first team training and preparing military observers and military staff officers for continental deployments with the African Union and United Nations.
While Officer Commanding 8 SA Infantry Battalion in 2009, Dyakopu deployed for his first tour of duty in the DR Congo as a battalion commander. Two years later he returned – again in command of the Upington headquartered motorised infantry unit – for another 12 month tour.
In 2013 Dyakopu was appointed SSO Combat Readiness at Infantry Formation headquarters and was promoted to colonel. While here he oversaw preparation and mobilisation of deploying units, including the formative South African contingent of the FIB. This unit is part of the MONUSCO, the UN mission in the DR Congo and still the only world body peacekeeping unit given an offensive mandate to fulfil its civilian protection tasking. While at Infantry Formation he was one of the SANDF team doing planning, preparation and execution for past president Nelson Mandela’s official state funeral.
A stint at SA Army tactical headquarters in Mpumalanga as provincial commander followed before he was summoned to central Africa again, this time as deputy FIB commander. He served for a year until 2017 before returning to South Africa as deputy and subsequently, chief, force preparation for the SA Army.
Dyakopu took over as FIB commander in July 2020. He replaced South African colleague Major General Patrick Dube as number one in the three-nation brigade that includes Tanzania and Malawi.