Specialist jungle warfare training concludes for SA soldiers

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A group of South African soldiers currently attached to the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have another skillset – jungle warfare – in their training repertoire compliments of Brazilian specialists.

Thirty-six soldiers identified as having instructor potential are part of the current RSABATT (Republic of South Africa Battalion) component of the UN’s MONUSCO Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) who were selected for specialist training by the Brazilian JWMTT (Jungle Warfare Mobile Training Team) detachment. Eight Brazilian jungle warfare specialists from the South American country’s Jungle War Instruction Centre presented the six module course, with certificates presented to all participants at the weekend.

They were given instruction with practical follow-up in shooting, navigation, tactical movement, offensive operations as well as an overview of general jungle warfare and how it is approached by the Brazilians.

The South Africans are the latest SA Army group to benefit from Brazilian specialist skills after members of the SANDF’s Quick Reaction Force (QRF) in August 2023 concluded a jungle warfare training course held by their Brazilian counterparts.

In July 2022, 30 members of the SANDF’s Quick Reaction Force I received their Jaguar badges and certificates after successfully completing training conducted by a Jungle Warfare Mobile Training Team from Brazil. In March 2022, a group of parabats from 1 Parachute Battalion doing duty as a Quick Reaction Force attached to the FIB had their turn.

Kenyan and Malawian soldiers deployed to MONUSCO in either the mission’s FIB or one of its supporting QRFs also previously benefitted from Brazilian specialist expertise and knowledge.

Captain K Setsiba of the RSABATT Joint Operations Division in DRC reports Lieutenant Colonel TI Mathidza saying the South Africans selected for jungle training were taught by Brazilians – “the people of choice for this training because of their experience and trophies in this field”.

In addition to their certificates, the soldiers who made the grade were presented with jungle warfare patches for their battledress.

Brazilian troops regularly assist deployed SANDF troops with jungle warfare training while in the DRC – South African soldiers also undergo jungle warfare training in South Africa before deploying.

As far back as 2013, South Africa identified the fact that training South African soldiers in jungle warfare was something Brazil could offer. Along with diving, mountaineering and riverine operations these are all military skills that fit into the African theatres of operation where the SANDF is deployed.