South African soldiers wounded in Sudan ambush


Two soldiers from 4 SA Infantry Battalion at Middelburg, Mpumalanga, were wounded during an ambush on a hybrid AU/UN peacekeeping force near Kutum in the northern Darfur region of Sudan earlier this week.

The ambush was on a section dispatched from the South African battalion base to collect water.

The two wounded soldiers were airlifted by helicopter to the UN hospital at el Fashir and were earlier today “stable” according to Captain (SAN) Jaco Theunissen, SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Joint Operations Division operational communication officer.

Two other South African infantrymen who sustained minor juries during the ambush are back at the Kutum base and in good spirits, he added.
“Had it not been for the swift reaction, high standard of alertness and vigilance of the SANDF members, it could have been a different story,” said Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Andries Matlaila.
“The training the troops received in South Africa prior to deployment coupled with their equipment was pivotal in repelling the attack,” he said, adding the rebel group, whose intentions are unknown, were forced to withdraw due to the concerted retaliation by the South Africans.

The Wednesday midday attack happened shortly after similar attacks on Ethiopian and Tanzanian forces, also part of the hybrid African Union/United Nations force, at Korma about 20 km from the South African base.
“The incidents come at a time when the Sudanese people are preparing for national elections in April/May next year. The South African deployment will be part of the peacekeeping force supporting and ensuring free and fair elections. The SANDF remains positive. This week’s ambush will not affect morale and South Africa, through its soldiers, will continue contributing to an Africa that is safe and free for all,” Theunissen said.