No South Africans dead or seriously wounded in DRC – SANDF


Reports of up to 10 SA National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers killed in the DRC have been dismissed as propaganda and psychological warfare by the force’s Corporate Communications Director.

Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said that latest reports from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) indicated “the combined force that is the SANDF and the Tanzanian People’s Defence Force attacked M23 positions”.
“One South African soldier suffered minor injuries,” he said, adding that “no SANDF member has been killed or seriously wounded in the eastern DRC”.

The injury occurred on Saturday (August 20) when M23 rebels clashed with FARDC (the DRC government’s armed forces). A mortar landed near a base occupied by South African and Tanzanian soldiers who are part of the UN Force Intervention Brigade (FIB). Minor injuries from shrapnel or “splinters from the bombs” were sustained by one South African and two Tanzanian soldiers.

A Tanzanian soldier was killed during a joint FARDC/MONUSCO offensive against M23 rebel positions on the Kibati Heights, north of Goma, a UN spokesman said.

Mabanga said the rebels were reporting the higher kill numbers because “they want to portray their so-called success against DRC government troops and the FIB”.

Military trade union Sandu (SA National Defence Union) has heard from some of its members deployed as part of the FIB that the situation on the ground is not good.
“Expect bad news, today’s engagement is increasing the number of casualties. We were promised Rooivalk (combat support helicopters) would be deployed and now our colleagues are in the frontline,” was one message received by Sandu National Secretary Pikkie Greeff.

Another was even more pointed, questioning whether the lessons learnt from the Battle of Bangui had been taken to heart. “We still make the same mistakes,” the soldier told Greeff.
“M23 has been using these positions (on the Kibati Heights) to shell populated areas. The objective of the MONUSCO supported operation is to remove the threat against Goma,” a UN statement said.

UN troops delivered mortar and artillery fire and used attack helicopters while FARDC made use of battle tanks, ground forces and attack helicopters to dislodge M23 rebels from the high ground position.